NEW MADRID - Southeast Missouri isn't known for its art galleries, but for the next few days the lobby of New Madrid County Central High School is transformed into a show place for sculpture, paintings and drawings.
Among the works may not be creations by future Rembrandts or Van Goghs, but there are some impressive works according to Linda Melkersman, art teacher and the show's organizer. And while it is a showcase for their works, Melkersman said she hopes the participants will discover that art is fun, enjoyable and an opportunity to learn about themselves.
Melkersman explained the art show, on display through Thursday in the north lobby which leads into the gym at the New Madrid County Central High School, involves some 200 works by art students in ninth through 12th grade. The pieces, selected from the students' work over the past school year, will compete for honors, determined by an art show judge.
It is an opportunity for the students to learn several lessons, which aren't always easily taught in the classroom.
"They learn about competition," said the teacher. "They learn that not everything they do will be liked by everyone and that just because you don't get a ribbon that doesn't mean your art isn't acceptable. They need to understand it is simply an honor to be chosen."
That's a lesson that Lauren Daniels has already learned. The sophomore, who will have a sculpture, mixed media piece, clay pot and a three-dimensional picture on display, said the students will discuss their works in class. "You have your own opinion about every thing."
Trevor Miller, a sophomore, said although he hasn't earned a ribbon at previous shows, it is still fun. "I like to be creative, work with clay. In class, we can walk around and look at others' art work, talk about things and get ideas. Mrs. Melkersman is a very good teacher because she lets us express ourselves and do neat things."
Miller will have a clay pot, sculpture, three-dimensional picture and a drawing on display at the show.
Sophomore Jessica Gist already has earned recognition from her work. She received a third place ribbon for her mixed media work at a symposium.
For this show she has several works on display including a drawing, a clay pot, three-dimensional picture and a mixed media print. While she explained she likes to see her works on display, she understands she might not walk away with a ribbon from this show.
"There is a lot of good art work in this one," said Gist about the displays. She added she is glad it will be seen during graduation, giving her family and friends an opportunity to view her work.
The timing of the display around graduation is part of Melkersman's attempt to let the community see what talent there is among the students at Central. "I want the public to see how hard the kids have worked throughout the year. They will recognize their names and see their works."
She said she hopes a bit of public recognition provides a boost to the young artists. "Art should make them feel good about themselves," explained Melkersman. "Art comes from within and should give them a sense of fulfillment. If more kids can capture that type of feeling they will be better rounded and better adjusted human beings."