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Young artists display their talent at Penn State

The State College Area School District annual K-12 Exhibition at the Robeson Gallery includes work in a variety of media.
The State College Area School District annual K-12 Exhibition at the Robeson Gallery includes work in a variety of media. Photo provided

Some of the best work from State College Area School District student artists is now on display at the HUB-Robeson Center, with a public reception for SCASD’s annual K-12 Exhibition coming up on Jan. 28.

The exhibition features a wide variety of 2- and 3-D media — painting, drawing, ceramic, mixed and digital media at all grade levels — representing many hours of skilled and creative work from the district’s children. This annual exhibition provides the young artists an exciting opportunity to share their artwork with the community in a professional setting.

Danielle Crowe has been the art curriculum coordinator for the school district for the past eight years and an art teacher at State High for the past 16 years. In SCASD, curriculum coordinators are also teachers, but they get release time for the non-teaching part of their role. One part of that role is showcasing their students’ work for the public.

“My role is to collect the student work from the 18 art teachers in SCASD and deliver them to the gallery,” she said. “I also communicate with the art teachers to collect all of the student information and signed release forms.”

The show originally started in 1998 as a regional show for the Scholastic Art and Writing competition. When that sponsorship ended, organizers decided to keep the show going as a K-12 student showcase, Crowe said.

“After a few years, the amount of time the show stayed on the walls extended from one week to three weeks, which allows for more of the community to get in and see the student work,” she said.

Commonly, the exhibit features drawings, paintings, photography, ceramics and a variety of sculptures. Elementary students sculpted animals from air-dry clay, while middle schoolers used markers and motors to create small robotic drawing monsters. Others used found or recycled objects in the creation of their sculptures.

“Near the front of the gallery there’s a very interesting 3-D piece by a 10th-grader that incorporates an old mirror, red yarn and plaster models of hands and arms,” said Maria Rogus, who is the publicity coordinator for the HUB-Robeson Galleries.

Each of the district’s art teachers is allowed to select up to 10 pieces of student work for the show. They use their own criteria to make those selections, sometimes to show exemplars of their curriculum and sometimes to acknowledge a deserving student.

The Jan. 28 reception will include kid-friendly refreshments, and most importantly, an opportunity for young artists, their families and the community to gather together and celebrate the accomplishments these students have made.

“We often see our younger students at the reception being inspired and encouraged by the older students in our program,” Crowe said. “That is a wonderful byproduct of the reception for us as an art program.”

Last year, the gallery was packed with students and families, even after a heavy snowfall the night before.

“I never get tired of seeing excited kids running in and dragging their parents and siblings behind them, so that they can show off their achievement,” Rogus said. “Even the older students get excited — they’ll bring their friends and can usually be spotted taking pictures to share on social media.”

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we’ve grown up,” and Rogus thinks that is especially applicable with the students who are a part of this exhibition.

“I hope that seeing their work in this setting will encourage these young artists to continue following their creativity, whether as a side-hobby or a more serious venture,” she said. “It is also my hope that the creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving skills demonstrated in the displayed artwork will instill a sense of pride in the community, and that all visitors, whether family, friends or community members, will walk away from this exhibition feeling inspired.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: State College Area School District Annual K-12 Exhibition
  • When: through Jan. 28; opening reception 2-4 p.m. Jan. 28
  • Where: Robeson Gallery, University Park
  • Info: studentaffairs.psu .edu/hub/artgalleries/
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