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Student Art Show Opens this Week

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Student Art Show Opens this Week at City Hall
Posted on 04/29/2015
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Visual arts education has come a long way since today’s adults were children. That’s something that visitors to the annual Portland Public Schools' Student Art Show at Portland City Hall often observe as they view the hundreds of examples of beautiful and compelling artwork that Portland Public Schools’ students create in school.

The show, which is open to the public, runs this year from Thursday, April 30, to Wednesday, May 20, 2015. There will be an opening reception on Friday, May 1, which also is Portland’s First Friday Art Walk. The reception runs from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a performance by the Lincoln Middle School Select Orchestra beginning at 4 p.m.

Approximately 650 talented students have had their artwork selected by teachers to be put on display this year.

“It’s important for the community to see the artwork that is being created by our students. It is simply breathtaking and the general public does not typically get a chance to see our students’ work unless they have a child in the Portland Public Schools,” said Allison Villani, art teacher at Reiche and Presumpscot elementary schools and the district’s art coordinator. “As I prepare and hang the students’ artwork every year, I receive a plethora of compliments from visitors and employees of City Hall. They cannot believe what students are creating these days. So often I hear, ‘That’s not what we were doing in art class when I was a kid. Art education has come a long way.’”

The show is arranged with younger students’ work downstairs and older students’ work upstairs, so one of the fascinating aspects of the show is that it gives visitors a sense of students’ growing artistic capabilities.

“From your journey downstairs to upstairs, you are literally seeing how children develop artistically,” Villani said. “As you enter City Hall, you will be struck with instant joy from the work of hundreds of elementary students in kindergarten through grade 5. As you walk around, you will come upon the increased maturity in the work of middle school students, and see the range of work from students at the Bayside Learning Community. Advancing up the stairs to the second floor, you will be amazed at the growth that is made in high school and continue to see mature middle school work.”

The show also is an opportunity to showcase the efforts of the district’s art teachers. “Each school may have their own art show at the end of the year, but this show is special because we get to see what everyone in the district is creating and teaching,” Villani said. “We need to thank our incredible art teachers for teaching their students fine art skills, strengthening their love of art, encouraging them to solve problems, instilling the confidence to work independently and fostering their imaginations.”

Villani also thanked the following people and organizations for their help and support of the show: the Maine Arts Commission; Portland City Hall’s custodial crew; City of Portland senior administrative assistant Judy Rosen; Portland Arts and Technology High School Culinary Concepts Program instructor Doug Armstrong and his students; and Portland Public Schools’ orchestra teacher Julianne Eberl and the Lincoln Middle School Select Orchestra.