- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - Logansport High School senior Gabby Howell proudly has her art displayed in the school’s gallery - a space designated for aspiring high school artists.

“It reminds me of a community house,” she said, “like we have a bunch of different art classes and then everybody comes together and puts their work in here to be displayed.”

The high school first opened the art gallery in March 2015, after a year and a half of planning and design. Since then, the gallery has had a show each month of the school year, including two professional artist exhibitors.

Students currently have more than 40 pieces of art lining the walls and placed on stands in the gallery for a surrealism show in the month of March, which includes imaginative drawings, photos, paintings and pottery.

Amy Werner, LHS art teacher, said the gallery has challenged art students, especially upper-level high schoolers who want to study art after graduation.

“The bar has been raised,” Werner said. “Putting your work out there on display in a place, and they know that the possibility of their work being in the gallery makes those kids who have that goal work a little bit harder.”

The art can be seen through large windows in the centrally-located part of the school - a showcase on campus, LHS Principal Matt Jones said.

“It turned out beyond expectations,” he said.

Senior Camille Tocco agreed, saying that the gallery makes her think of a college environment.

“You want people to see your work,” Camille said.

If the school had an art gallery when she was a freshman, Camille said she might have made a college choice sooner. Howell added that she might have taken an art class her first year rather than sophomore year.

“Students who are thinking of pursuing art, I think it gives them a boost,” Gabby said.

Over the course of the past year, Werner said the student shows have had between 25 and 30 people on average attend each opening, mostly parents. She’s hoping to let the public know more about the shows, so people can see student work.

Anyone can visit the gallery at show openings or set up an appointment during school hours to see the exhibit by calling the main office, Werner added.

In addition to senior shows, the gallery has had two guest artists showcase their work during the school year: LHS alumni Hugh Leeman and Ross Anderson. They both shared their work and lives with students, giving them insight for the future.

Werner said she plans to have at least one professional artist show each semester. Next fall, she hopes to expand that to have a local artist and alumni invitational for professional or amateur artists from the area.

Jones said Leeman and Anderson are just two of many talented artists who have graduated from LHS, adding it’s beneficial for students to meet artists who make a living and have continued their passion into adulthood.

LHS is a comprehensive school, Jones said, providing programming for students with myriad interests such as the arts. He said it’s important to embrace the arts at the same time as preparing kids for core classes and standardized tests.

“Kids are talented in many ways,” he said, “and sometimes in education you can get caught up in all of the test scores and school letter grades when art classes, and band programs, and other electives are so important for kids to show off their talents.”

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune, https://bit.ly/1QKLqX7

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com


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