By Melissa Wagoner
This year the Silverton Arts Association’s annual “Teen Art Show” featured 105 pieces of art from students at Evergreen, Bethany, Community Roots, Silverton Middle School, Silverton High School and Sequoia Falls Academy.
“It’s a long-standing tradition,” Silverton Arts Association Board (SAA) Member and gallery curator, Megan Smith, said of the show, which ran from May 5 to 21.
Owing to the caliber of the work entered, the five judges had a difficult time choosing this year’s first, second and third place winners, only unanimously agreeing on one prize – the “Best in Show Award”.
“It was incredibly difficult,” SAA Resident Artist and Teen Art Show judge John Friedrick confirmed. “I had no idea we have such talented young artists in our city. It was a really enjoyable challenge to examine so many beautiful works and weigh them against each other. I tried to consider both technical skill and boldness of subject matter. Who not only delivered a refined piece but also showed me something unexpected in the process?”
Unexpected outcomes were in fact numerous amongst the winners, as many were surprised to see a ribbon attached to their work when they attended the gallery opening,.
“I definitely felt very proud when I first saw it displayed, and that feeling only amplified with the awards,” Eli Haugen, a senior at Silverton High School, said. His ceramic piece “Vessel” was awarded both first place in his age group as well as “Best in Show”.
“I think it mostly motivated me to dive further into my craft and hopefully, display better pieces in the future,” Haugen added. His goal is to one day have a successful career in pottery.
He is well on his way, having recently secured an internship with Lee Jacobson, an artist whose work he admired in Silverton’s Lunaria Gallery.
“Right now, Lee is helping me explore my options moving forward, and teaching me new techniques,” Haugen explained. “It’s such a privilege to be able to talk to someone so knowledgeable.”
That kind of mentorship and encouragement is why the Teen Art Show was created.
“It’s just a small way we can provide affirmation to younger artists,” SAA Board President, resident artist and Teen Art Show judge, Jonathan Case confirmed. “It can be hard starting out in any creative medium, with long stretches between any positive feedback. To make anything of quality takes time and passion – so the effort of these students should be celebrated.”
It’s an opinion the artists of Lunaria Gallery – whose cooperative artists regularly offer internships – share, and one reason why, upon learning of this year’s show, the members offered to exhibit three of the winning artists during Lunaria’s June gallery show.
“Lunaria Gallery and Silverton Arts Association actively cooperate in supporting their mutual commitment to art and art education in Silverton…” Lunaria representative Anne Barber-Shams said. “The art they sent to SAA was quite stunning.”
Moving on to Lunaria were two wall pieces – a painting titled, “Open Wide,” by junior Darby Ullan, and a pen and ink, titled, “Timeless,” by eighth grade SMS student Claudia Rankin, as well as Haugen’s ceramic piece. Lunaria is providing these budding artists a chance to have their art viewed by hundreds of spectators over the entire month of June.
“I was really nervous about mine because I hadn’t done people before,” Rankin said of her award-winning portrait, now displayed on Lunaria’s wall. “It was out of my comfort zone.”
It’s a feeling Rankin shares with many of this year’s artists. Several of whom referred to the process of creating as a learning experience.
“With mine, I never used conte crayon with charcoal,” seventh grade SMS student Annabel Nankman said. “But I loved it right away. I think maybe you could see I had fun with it and loved doing it… I was really proud to see how far I’ve come.”
For Nankman – and many of the other teen artists as well – the Teen Art Show was about competition and about experience.
“I wouldn’t care if there was a prize,” Nankman continued. “Just other people seeing my art was enough for me.”
“It was pretty cool to see your art in the community,” Nolan Thelen, a seventh grader at SMS, echoed.
That was exactly what the creators of the Teen Show were hoping to hear.
“It gives you hope,” Case said. “There’s so many talented kids out there, and it was great to connect with them and feel their excitement about being featured in the show. It’s a win-win for our arts community.”
Silverton Arts Association’s Teen Art Show Winners:
Seventh Grade: Annabel Nankman
Eighth Grade: Claudia Rankin (also showing at Lunaria)
Ninth Grade: Mia-Claire Mykisen
Tenth Grade: Ashley Schurter
Eleventh Grade: Darby Ullan
Twelfth Grade: Kierstin Mossman
People’s Choice Award: Darby Ullan (also showing at Lunaria)
Best in Show: Eli Haugen (also showing at Lunaria)
Editor’s Note: Melissa Wagoner is the current Vice President of the Silverton Arts Association board of directors.