March 2022

Abigail I.

& Jessica H.

There were many exceptional entries this month, therefore we have decided to recognize 2 spectacular young student artists for March!

Secondary Student Artist of the Month

Meet Abigail, a student at Kutztown Area High School who was nominated by her teacher, Benjamin Hoffman.

Mr. Hoffman had this to say about Abigail, "As an art educator, I cannot begin to describe the inherent talent and technical ability that Abigail brings to her work. Regardless of the hours spent working into the evening, creativity flows from her without effort and conversations are equally as exciting. She applies sensitivity, originality, and natural elements to her work. This recent year has proven to be a challenging, and rewarding venture throughout her time in AP Studio Art. Abigail is also an active member of the National Honor Society, Leo Club, and Girl Scouts of America. Abigail’s involvement in our school community and the arts is one of pure excitement and pure attentiveness. Abigail has received numerous accolades for her work, which include; Scholastic Gold & Silver Keys, the Pennsylvania Congressional Art Award, First Place in the Berks County Intermediate Unit Secondary Showcase in Oil/Painting as well as several local exhibitions. Ide continues to push beyond the limits of her own ability, seeking every opportunity to better herself as well as those around her. From her makeshift studio in our classroom space to the depth of knowledge she has amassed, there is nothing that Abigail cannot accomplish. In addition to the multiple studio courses taken, Ide continues to serve our school community and is a vital member of our art department. It would be an understatement to acknowledge the passion and devotion that such a young mind possesses as well as the impact that she has had on my own life."

Abigail's responses to our questions:

Who has been your biggest influence and why?

My 6th-grade science teacher, Mrs. Brett, had probably been the biggest influence in my work and prospective future. Her class sparked my deep appreciation for birds, which is what I largely depict in my work as an ornithological enthusiast. What I depict helped me to realize the better career path for me was not fine art, rather the conservation of wildlife while continuing art on the side. Though, I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without my former art teacher, Ms. Tuerk, and current art teacher, Mr. Hoffman. Both have had pivotal influences on my growth as an artist and as a person. Ms. Tuerk not only helped my technical abilities flourish but she kept me humble as a younger artist. Mr. Hoffman has taught me a plethora of new techniques, provided crucial feedback, and obtained many opportunities that I otherwise would not have known about.

Why is art class/art education important?

I feel art education is so important for students as it is a way for everyone to express themselves, regardless of individual opinions on ideas, styles, and skill levels. Every artist in a shared space contributes to building a web of creatives with art teachers acting as the glue that holds the great network together.

What advice would you give to other artists?

I would say, don’t feel pressured to make what you think others want to see. Art doesn’t always need to be something aesthetically pleasing, always allow your voice to speak in every piece. Make controversial art! Stir the pot! Also, always be willing to try new things. Keep exposing yourself to new ideas. Remember to try to keep an open mind when doing so!

Secondary Student Artist of the Month

Meet Jessica, a student at Unionville High School, nominate by her art teacher, Noelle Porco.

Ms. Porco had this to say about Jessica, "Jessica’s dedication and commitment to the arts is unmatched. She is continuously striving to find ways to improve and build on her already extremely refined technical ability. She not only pushes herself with trying new materials and methods but works just as hard to push herself intellectually. I have been teaching for 13 years in a range of schools and I have never come across a student that is so thoughtful in every aspect of her artwork. She sets goals and creates a path to success. Even when obstacles present themselves she is incredibly capable of restrategizing and continuing to move forward which is a rare quality.

In addition to being a leader in the art room during her scheduled classes, Jessica has also been an active participant in The National Art Honors Society. This year she has taken on the role of president and leader, already she has demonstrated great leadership by creating volunteer opportunities with local organizations and mentoring young artists. She has been an incredible asset to me as the advisor in assisting with organizing and running events. Jessica is invaluable in the art room."

Jessica believes art is important and this to say about visual arts education, "Much of education nowadays is very stressful, with high expectations for grades, GPAs, AP credits, standardized testing scores, and overall workload. Art gives students the opportunity to unleash their imagination in ways that our rigid education system often doesn’t allow for, and art education is different, importantly so, in that it allows students to unwind, express themselves, and dive deeper into topics that they enjoy. It’s important to foster creativity in kids because problem-solving skills, mental flexibility, and innovation all stem from minds that can think outside the box."

Jessica's advice to young artists: "My advice is to always experiment with styles and mediums, keep practicing, and, honestly, cut yourself some slack. We often give ourselves the harshest criticism, and sometimes our negative talk can dampen our creativity and stunt our growth as artists. The best way to develop your skills is to let go of expectations, especially during practice and experimentation."