Getting Acquainted with Student Art

By: Rachel Hausmann Schall, curator of education on March 9th, 2022

In my previous role as a visual arts educator at Milwaukee’s Pius XI High School, I worked with students in grades 9-12 in various ways. A large part of my role was managing student artwork submissions for the YoungArts awards, Advanced Placement (AP) program, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Alongside other educators, we taught students how to edit artist statements, photograph artwork, and keep their image files and submissions organized.

When Jane Weinke, former curator of collections, passed the management torch for the Woodson Art Museum’s annual student art exhibition to me, I felt eager, ready, and well-equipped to handle the challenge. On view now through April 10, the 45th Annual Student Art Exhibition highlights the original and creative artwork by regional high school students.

Left to right: Axel Jacobs, Textured View from Above, acrylic and fabric, Ellise Markevitch, Repent, white and black charcoal, and Fatima Paredes-Landgros, Boat to Nowhere, watercolor

Walking through the lower-level gallery takes me back to teaching drawing, painting, and digital design techniques to ninth-grade students. Blind contour, a drawing technique that challenges artists to communicate the contour of an object without looking at their paper, is one of my favorite methods. It teaches the eye and mind to slow down and direct intense focus. In this year’s exhibition, Ella Solin’s freestanding three-dimensional portrait, Chroma, exemplifies blind-contour proficiency.

Ella Solin, Chroma, wire, plaster, acrylic

Left to right: Axel Jacobs, Textured View from Above, acrylic and fabric, Ellise Markevitch, Repent, white and black charcoal, and Fatima Paredes-Landgros, Boat to Nowhere, watercolor

In addition, I’m impressed by well-done still lifes, portraits, and illustrations depicting a variety of subjects, from food and animals to abstract designs. I continue to be amazed by the skill and originality within this selection of artwork and the diverse mediums represented in this year’s exhibition. With over 70 artworks on view through April 10, it’s clear that both educators and students in central and north central Wisconsin are enthusiastic and passionate about visual arts.

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