Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The library at Portsmouth High School looked more like the Musée du Louvre on Thursday, as visitors browsed through more than 100 pieces of student artwork before a school board meeting.
“Typically we just have the county art show, which is very competitive and only a handful of students get in,” said High School Art teacher April Deacon. “We’ve never had a student art show that involved all of the student artists. This particular show presented every single student that I have this year in grades 9-12 high school.”
The title of the show was “MADE: A Showcase of Imagination.” Artwork was selected from pieces created throughout the year by 70 high school students in Deacon’s art classes and included drawings, sculptures and paintings.
“Some of the sculptures were made of newspaper or cardboard, some were made of clay,” Deacon said. “It was really just representative of all the projects we’ve done throughout the year.”
Students presented their work to visitors as they walked through the school library and answered questions about their art. Destiny Campbell, a junior at Portsmouth High School, presented three clay sculptures and one painting in the show. She said she enjoyed the show and would like to continue creating art when she graduates.
“I want that to be my actual career. I’d like to go into illustration, though. I use mostly pencils, so probably cartoons or something,” she said.
Her classmate Bre Winters, also a junior at PHS, displayed two sculptures and two drawings in the show.
“One sculpture was out of clay and then the other one was out of newspaper; it was a mache and it had to have a human feature and also an animal feature,” Winters said.
Winters also enjoys creating art at home, she said, and prefers to work mostly in pastels. She said she enjoyed the show and looking at other students’ artwork.
In honor of School Board Appreciation Month, student artists also created special pieces to present to each of the five Portsmouth City School Board members during their monthly meeting which followed the art show.
“The art club made a few things for school board members. They made a little quote from Gandhi with watercolor and the art club members each put a thumb print next to that. They presented that to the school board as a token of our appreciation for everything they do for the school district,” Deacon said.
Portsmouth Superintendent Scott Dutey said he was very impressed by the students’ artwork, and moved by their special presentation to the school board.
“We’ve got some talented kids in our district, and for them to be able to display their creativity — and April does a great job with them — we’re thrilled that we’re able to provide and offer the art courses that we do,” he said.
Deacon said the public feedback to the student art show was very positive, and the school would like to have another in the spring.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.