Dawson County Schools recently held a system-wide art show at the county’s Performing Arts Center, displaying drawings, paintings, sculptures and other forms of art made by students representing every school in the district.
Jennifer Gray, art teacher at Dawson County High School, said that she has been teaching art for 11 years and is impressed by the level of artistic talent from her students and younger students at the middle and elementary schools. According to Gray, the younger students’ art pieces weren’t judged, but high school students entered several pieces from the past semester to win awards at the show.
“My students had to enter three pieces each in drawing and painting, and for pottery they had to enter two pieces,” Gray said.
Lorelei Gnepper, a sophomore at DCHS who entered several pieces and won an honorable mention award said that she enjoyed using different mediums to create art throughout the semester.
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“For one piece we just took random things from the closet and set them up and drew it in black-and-white and then chose one thing to put in color,” Gnepper said. “And then on another one we did a different medium for each animal in the picture — pen, pencil, graphite, colored pencil — and on another one we learned how to shade and go from dark to light and light to dark.”
Kelly Shippey, art teacher at Black’s Mill Elementary School, said that her students also learned about several different art techniques throughout the semester. According to Shippey, her way of doing this was to spotlight different famous artists and teach her students about their art style.
“I like picking out the artists that kids can relate to; that have a process they worked through and built their fundamentals and the basis of what they know,” Shippey said.
Shippey said that her students used information about different famous artists to try their own hand at the same techniques the artists themselves used. She encouraged her students to be creative in her classroom and not to stick to any one set of rules when they were drawing, painting or sculpting.
"I like the kids to get out of their seats and work on not being so constrained; there’s so much rigor about them sitting in their seats in the normal classroom,” Shippey said. “My kids are into a lot of different ways of producing art and they can exercise how they feel they should go about producing what they do.”
Abel Nahlik, one of Shippey’s second-grade students, said that he enjoyed learning about different art techniques and trying them himself.
“On [one of his art pieces] mostly what we did was paint it and take paintbrushes and dab on top of it,” Nahlik said. “I like art, and I like drawing the best.”