Spring is here and once again Mint Hill Arts kicked off the season by hosting annual Student Art Show. Over 130 entries by public, private, and homeschooled students were submitted. Although only the high school level is eligible to win prizes, many Mint Hill students enjoyed the opportunity to share their unique work with the public.
The event is organized by a team of local volunteers headed up by Mary Beth Thomas. Even though she helps provide this opportunity to inspire young artists to share their work, Thomas says she feels like the next generation of artists is inspiring her, instead. “The work that these students and their teachers put into this event at all levels – it’s amazing to see that passion every year.”
For the Student Show, several creative mediums were used including: photography, ceramics, pen and ink, pencil, mixed media, and watercolors. The students enjoy the chance to work with different tools. Winner, Autumn Nixon, shares the process that lead to her award-winning piece. “I saw a photograph online and was inspired by the woman’s face. I like to use brown and black and white to create an impression and light. I think it’s more striking than using tons of colors.”Another powerful element of the Student Art Show is each teenager’s passion for their subject matter. Many relish receiving the chance to share their art and, through it, their developing voices. Several of the submitted pieces had thought-provoking messages.
Alyssa Choate, a senior at Butler, says she wanted to focus on love. “Right now, I’m doing 12 pieces for my AP art portfolio. It’s called “Love Up Close” and it is just pictures and paintings of my family members and people that are close to me. They are in several styles.”
Choate claims lots of her friends are making significant statements in art right now. “There’s a lot of activism for students. We want to create change, we’re grateful for Mint Hill Arts giving us the chance to do that.”
When asked about her piece “Am I Pretty Now? ” Independence High School artist, Allison Wilson, shared her desire to combat the modern negativity motivated by social media outlets. “I have been noticing girls struggling with self-confidence and I wanted to address it,” Wilson passionately states. “I have actually pursued this issue in more areas than just my art. My senior exit project is getting girls outdoors instead of sitting on their phones, dwelling on social media.”
It is clear that these voices are being heard. When the winners were announced by David McGee, President of Mint Hill Arts, many of the winning pieces were not only beautifully made but also had strong messages from the artists themselves.
Mary Beth Thomas encourages any Mint Hill residents who are interested in art to stop by the Mint Hill Arts gallery off of Lawyers Road. “We keep a good amount of work displayed here. There are also several pieces on exhibit at Mint Hill Animal Hospital and First Citizens Bank in Mint Hill.”
Thomas says that Mint Hill Arts can’t wait to host their next show. “We have an exhibition every month. One month it will be a judged show with no theme – like the Student Art Show. The next it might have a theme, but not be judged.” Thomas explains. “We love to give local artists the opportunity to display and sell their work in a real gallery.”