West Holmes art students get chance to shine virtually

West Holmes art students get chance to shine virtually
Submitted

Jaxton Morris was one of four senior artists at West Holmes who had the honor of creating a week-long display for all to see at the high school.

                        

The West Holmes K-12 visual art teachers decided to create an art show that would showcase the artistic ability of all the district’s students, and while they decided against going back to the former in-person art show of years past, what they provided was an option that kept the artwork in front of the public’s eyes for much longer.

The West Holmes Virtual K-12 Art Show is currently featured on the school district’s home page, where the artistic efforts of students are broken down by school.

Over the past two years, the pandemic has put a damper on many school events like the annual art show, which usually takes place in person. The art teachers throughout the district decided they would create an online effort that worked out better than they could have imagined.

“During the pandemic, we saw a lot of shows like this online, and we felt it would be neat to try it,” said Sandy Miller, West Holmes High School art teacher. “We all felt it was really neat, and it made sense to try it and see how it worked out.”

It turned out to be a wonderful idea.

West Holmes Middle School art teacher Amy Rohr spearheaded the movement to go virtual, and teachers submitted their finest work to be displayed.

She said having a chance to showcase the talents of the kids was reaffirming to both the students and the teachers, who invest so much in providing opportunities for their students to develop their art skills and enhance their creative side.

“We have to decide early in the year what we want to do in terms of an art show, and with all of the uncertainty still surrounding the year early on with the pandemic, we all agreed that it might be best to go virtual,” Rohr said. “We all have to start collecting art projects in the fall and go throughout the year, so I had all of the teachers take pictures of their various projects they selected and save them to a file, and I put them all together on the virtual site.”

Rohr said they sent letters home to parents notifying them of the virtual art show, noting that being able to showcase the art is a special step in the lives of the students. Having it virtual allowed them to not only share with their friends and classmates at school, but also with the community and even with out-of-state family.

The virtual art show can be found on the district’s home page at www.westholmes.org. A click on the icon takes viewers to the art show home, where visitors can go to any of the elementary schools, the middle school or the high school art show.

Once someone picks a school, they can peruse through the show by clicking on the arrows, where each new page brings the students’ artwork, their name, grade and the art teacher’s name into view.

Miller said it is easy, and the feedback they have gotten from the community and from the students themselves has been positive.

“The kids love it,” Miller said. “They are able to share the link with family and friends, whether they live here in the community or far away.”

She said in addition to the website, the virtual art show is being touted through Google Classrooms.

While the district used to dole out awards, Miller said they have forgone the awards this year and instead focused on artistic expression exhibited by the students. She said in lieu of that, she has given each of her four senior art students an opportunity to display their favorite art pieces in the display case in the commons area at West Holmes High School.

“They’ve worked hard, and they deserved a chance to set up a display and let the student body enjoy their efforts,” Miller said of the week-long displays set up by seniors Calihan Scherer, Frankie Schlabach, Jaxton Morris and Jerzey Morris. Each of the seniors also have their own icon on the virtual art show high school page.

As for the rest of the show, Miller said Rohr did the legwork in creating this opportunity for the students. She said all the teachers looked forward to providing their students the exposure they deserve.

“It’s about getting kids excited about art and using their creativity and then allowing others to share their talent and vision,” Miller said.

The virtual art show went so well Miller believes it will continue to trend next year, where they hope to invest in not just the online show, but also get back to the in-person show and present them in combination.

Rohr said it has allowed them to incorporate even more kids in the show.

“This is the type of thing that not only allows the kids to show their work, but it also helps create more confidence and reaffirms what they are doing,” Rohr said. “It also gives us as a district art staff a chance to collaborate on projects and communicate what we are doing. We don’t often see each other, so this project kept us in the loop.”

Rohr said her hope is the 2022 virtual art show will remain on the district website throughout the summer, allowing for ample time for the community to view the efforts of the students.


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