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CU Displays Mercer County School Art at Annual Night in the Art Gallery

By Rebekah Skeens
On February 1, 2018

This marks the ninth annual Night in the Art Gallery.
Photo Courtesy of Caleb Zopp

Attendees of the ninth annual Night in the Art Gallery traveled 'Around the World' in this year's event. Concord invited local schools on Thursday, Jan. 18 to participate in an enlightening exhibition from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Arthur Butcher Gallery in the Alexander Fine Arts Center. 

This program is a continuing event between the Concord University Art Department and the art departments of several Mercer county schools. Students from seven local Mercer county schools participated, including Bluefield High School, Glenwood Middle School, Montcalm High School, Pikeview Middle School, Pikeview High School, Princeton Middle School, and Princeton Senior High School. Concord University art education and early education students also participated by conducting hands on activities. 

In years past, the theme has been about one specific nation, but this year was a special one as several stations and crafts were created for many areas of the world. “Around the World” was this year’s theme, and activities from Australia, Japan, Egypt, China, Mexico, and the United States were offered. Students were able to go around to each table and make a craft pertaining to that country’s culture. Concord student Melissa Losada explained more about what the night had to offer: “Basically, students are making art activities and getting to learn about all these different countries.” 

Maraca-making, Pot art, and removing parts of a paper mache  mummy were some of the activities. At each table, a tri-fold poster board gave information about the region and the activity in which the children could participate. With the wide variety of countries, all the activities had a completely different learning experience. 

Assistant Professor of Art Dr. Lauri Reidmiller described how this event is always a very important one for the surrounding community. Not only is this an experience for the younger generations of this community, she said, but also a teaching experience for everyone. “I watch as many come in [to the exhibit] and we all grow together.”

She went on to mention what an incredible experience this is for students and adults alike. “The purpose of this show is to give exposure to the wonderful art students are creating. Concord has a partnership with the schools, not only to highlight the art, but to connect to the community as well. Art is the highest form of creativity in my opinion,” she states. 


Each year, the attendance exceeds the year before. Normally, the event is held in the fall, but even with the schedule change, the event’s popularity continues to grow. This year, around 300 students and community members were a part of the experience.

Like in previous years, the gallery collection has also continued to grow. A variety of young middle school and high school students are showing their artwork to the public. The art gallery was filled with artwork from drawings to paintings to fiber art, loom weaving, and monochromatic self-portraits. Some pieces were filled with color, while others were a simple black and white drawing. 

Princeton Senior High School art teacher Cynthia Tilley has been a part of this event for several years. “There is lots of hard work and dedication which goes into making this happen and I was happy to be a part of it,” she says. She feels that “this is a wonderful experience for the children and for everyone who gets to enjoy the art.” 

She also explains how, these days, a lot of the time children are caught up in electronics, and they do not get as creative. This gives them a chance to learn and truly express themselves. Like others at the gallery, she appreciates the large amount of positive feedback evident from having this annual exhibit.

The continuation of Concord University’s partnership with Mercer County Schools is creating a supportive and welcoming environment for the kids and all in attendance. With this event, the community gets to see what a positive impact art has on their children. Along with this, the students are learning and being inspired to create more art in the future. 

 

 

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