14th Annual Junior High & High School Exhibition
Reception: Friday, April 6, 5-7 pm
Music by Pleasant Valley High School Jazz Band
Students, teachers, parents and friends gather to enjoy artwork, cast their votes for People’s Choice Award and see who the Juror chooses for cash prizes. For months, students and teachers across Chico have been developing their paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, mixed media and sculptures. Now, Chico's art teacher’s top choices are shared for the rest of us to enjoy! Come see creative minds at work.
Brought to you by Graham Hutton and Made in Chico
Each work in this year’s Creative Fusion exhibit demonstrates skill in visual art. Thus, each student represented here should feel proud of his or her work, which was pre-selected as worthy of exhibition by their art teacher.
Presenting one’s work is a significant aspect of artistic practice. Presenting is now one of the four components of the artistic process specified in the new National Core Arts Standards for teaching visual art. I am pleased to support this experience for Chico Unified School District Jr. High and High School students. As many parents know STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is a current trend in K-12 education. Most recently the acronym has been redefined as Strategies That Engage Minds, in other words creating art.
As the juror for this year’s exhibit I had the challenging task of selecting seven artworks for cash awards from the total 125 submissions. This was no small job. The criteria that guided my selections was the work’s effective combination of content and form. In other words, how was the idea or subject of the artwork communicated through the choices made by the student relative to color, line, shape, composition, material, technique, etc.
At the High School level, I awarded the 1st Place prize to Angelina Miranda for her untitled collage. The post-millennial generation’s fascination with animated figures with super powers is embodied in Miranda’s utilization of actual comics and trading cards cut up and changed into a dancing tornado-like 3-D form that explodes toward the viewer.
For 2nd Place at the High School level I selected three artworks:
Natalie Harris’ work titled The Lips of a Feminist provocatively illustrates a giant pair of large and luscious soft red lips printed on bright, white water color paper. Bits of text relate to the shape of the lips and provide food for thought.
Zach Hutsell’s untitled mixed media sculpture combines screws, nuts, and bolts with wood and ceramics. The ceramic head fits into a nub of steal and was designed so it could be easily changed out for a different head. The notion of interchangeability is the theme of this work embodied in the materials that comprise it: ceramic head (s), nuts, bolts and metal fasteners.
Jasmine Rongley’s digital photograph, ostensibly presents itself in the traditional high school portrait genre. However, as its title suggests Wanna Say That Again, the extreme close up of the composition aggressively places the subject “in the face” of the viewer and reveals important details and features of its subject.
High School Honorable Mentions were awarded to Alana Grimes for her witty acrylic painting that demonstrated an impressive use of texture, contrast and an analogous color scheme in a dynamic relationship between aggressive animals and benign fruit; Elizabeth Ober for her Sal the Seaman, paper dolls created with precise detail and skill, and a high degree of creativity; and Britta Bundy, for her untitled tromp l’oeil ceramic work fashioned like the trunk of a birch tree that functions as a teapot.
At the Junior High School level, I awarded 1st Place to Emma Hawker for her ceramic creature that might also function as a stringed instrument. The mild repulsion of the animal-like figure is expressed in the color and bumpy texture of its skin, while the eyes and horn on its back feature spots of colored glazes.
At the Junior High School level, I awarded 2nd Place Lola Parks’ Shoe Size C pencil drawing and collage illustrates impressive attention to detail in the drawing of one tennis shoe while the collage of the shoe seems to be an autobiographical expression of things the artist likes including I assume her tennis shoe.
Jr. High School Honorable Mentions were awarded to Kristyn Cervantes for her collage titled Sun Set Shoe, a rainbow celebration of a tennis shoe using a mosaic-style technique; Elyja Kiehna for his tempera painting, The Face of Pure Happiness, in which he reinforced the notion of happiness through his use of orange and blue to create an energized simultaneous contrast effect.
Finally, I chose one artwork among the entire exhibit that I believe most adeptly places itself between the art of today and the long tradition of artworks that reference the times in which they were created and illicit meaning and conversation. I call this the Best Visual Conversation, which I awarded to Isabella McMurry for her work I Am Columbia. The work utilizes the very contemporary medium of digital design while composing a new image of the historic allegorical figure called “Columbia,” a defiant female character that symbolized America for both Europeans and Americans and first emerged in the 18th century. The image of Columbia has been reshaped and revised throughout history and McMurry presents her revision as it relates to current times.
Jennifer Spangler is Co-Director of The Northern California Arts Project (NCAP), a regional center of The California Arts Project (TCAP). Part of the California Subject Matter Project, NCAP/TCAP is a network for K-14 arts educators and exists to improve subject matter competency in all arts disciplines. Spangler served as the Butte County Local Coordinator for the California Alliance for Arts Education. Spangler is also a lecturer at California State University, Chico and Butte Community College where she has taught Art History, Art Appreciation, and Arts Education.
She received her M.A. in Art History at the University of California, Davis in 2003. Before entering the academic field, Spangler consulted with arts organizations and public agencies throughout California to plan and develop arts facilities. Clients included the City of Long Beach, the City of Santa Monica, the San Francisco Arts Commission, BRAVA! For Women in the Arts, The S.F. Mexican Museum, and Shipyard Trust for the Arts at Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco.