Other stories filed under Arts
Art in the City
May 11, 2015
The Omaha Catholic School Art Show
One fifth. That’s the number of American high school students who take advanced fine arts classes and actively participate in the promotion of them. Every year the Omaha area catholic schools do this by participate in a showing of their art departments finest pieces. The show, entitled The Omaha Catholic School Art Show, incorporates paintings, drawing, photographs, and sculpture into one artistic representation of our city’s catholic school art departments. It showcases different techniques and styles of the next generation of our city’s artists.
This year the show was moved from its usual venue at Creighton to the Hot Shops Art Center downtown. The Hot Shops is made up of four gallery spaces as well as an outdoor glass blowing studio and classrooms to teach and explore new forms of art. When asked what drove them to want to host the show, director Tim Barry said, “The arts celebrate the individual-the materials we use have the ability to record the spirit of the makers. They’re about exploring ideas and what ifs, about developing one’s voice.”
The opportunity to have the show at such a public and popular venue isn’t something the students or teachers take lightly. “ “This is the biggest exposure that our art program has had. It’s a local show but it’s a great experience to get our art out into the community,” said sophomore Bethany Cary. “Plus The show leads to greater experience to get our art out into the community.” Bethany was recently contacted by someone wishing to purchase her art, an opportunity that wouldn’t have been possible without the show. Each student was encouraged to pick their favorite piece to be shown and entered into a People’s Choice contest that ran from May first to the eighth.
On May eighth a reception for all the schools involved in the show was held at the Hot Shops as well as a surprise reception for Mrs. Baxter. Mrs. Baxter was one of the founders of the Omaha Catholic School Art Show and has been helping with it ever since. Her contribution to our art department at Skutt Catholic has been astronomical and the influence she has had on her students is just as great. Many of her former students were present at the showing to wish her luck as she retires from teaching. “Mrs. Baxter really taught me a lot about creating things that I would want to see and help get my message across,” said senior Hannah Winther. “She taught us how to create art that works in a space, like the stain glass windows, and also how to appreciate it.”
Photo Essay: Kent Bellows Mentoring Program, Threshold
Young artists around Omaha showcase their talent through multiple mediums
Dedication, determination, and the drive to explore new passions are just a few of the things that the Joslyn’s teen Art program look for in their mentees. This coalition of young artists allows the adolescence of our city to catch a glimpse of the real world from an artist point of view. In order to partake in this experience, students must submit applications and a portfolio of their work. Those accepted into the program are asked to work on pieces at the Kent Bellows studio multiple times over the course of their week. Not only do they pick up on advice from the professional mentors, but they are allowed to learn from the stylistic variations among their peers. After the students complete one semester of the course, an exhibition is held at the studio to showcase the inexplainable talent these kids have. On May 1st, the spring exhibition, titled ‘Threshold,’ took place in downtown Omaha at the Kent Bellows Studio. The impression left from the show was absolutely astounding and the walls were packed with people. These students are able to create beautiful artworks that transpire beyond the mediums of pencil and paper.
In Life and School
The longevity of Skutt Catholic would not be if it was not for the teachers and staff that paved the way for the school. The teachers and administration created an institution where we, the students, could get a private Catholic education and be able to live by our school motto every day. One of the teachers that made this possible for us is Mrs. Baxter, a Skutt Catholic art teacher who this year announced her retirement from the school. I recently had the privilege to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about the Skutt Catholic Art Program.
On teaching at Skutt Catholic: “Starting out at out at Skutt, there wasn’t an art program, so I got to start anew, which was very exciting. I went out and contacted many of my good friends who I knew as art teachers and I did a lot of research and I found a great textbook and then it just developed into a great art program”
On the stained glass window tradition: “Early on I decided that the only way to keep seniors motivated for a quarter was to give them free reign on a special art project and we did that for many years. Then, in 1998, the students knew that I worked with stained glass and so they told me they wanted to make a stained glass window and I thought that was great, so we made it. I have a friend that runs a stained glass shop and we got started working on the thing. Just like we do it now, the kids have to talk to administration and get the design and window placement approved. For the first window when Father Gilg was here, his idea for the window was to be placed where everyone could see it, so we placed right outside of the pottery room because you could see it from the commons. The theme for that window and their class was two Skyhawks intertwining into a ’98 because that was their graduating year and there are also footprints, which are actually the students footprints. Some are actual pieces of glass and some are etched into the window. The really cool thing about the first window is that when it was made in 1998, that was also the first year that the wrestling team took state and of course when the wrestlers go out the building they have to go under that window, so I think that is kind of neat. Then the following years we actually didn’t do stained glass because many of the students wanted to do their own thing and because stained glass was already done, so it wasn’t until 2003 that I decided that it was going to become an Art III project; so we did, with the one above the doors leading out to the wrestling room and then the halls, then we did one for Father Gilg, and we did the three in the art room and then we are just now finishing up on the last one for the commons”
On National Art Honor Society: “When we started, I think we only had six kids and then it started growing into an Art Club and we did Art Club for about 8 years. Then I found out about National Art Honor Society, so the next year we started the SkyHawk Chapter of the National Art Honor Society. We did this to get kids to come together and have fun and be able to do different art projects outside of class.”
On fondest memory at Skutt Catholic: “Oh my, that is very difficult because I have a lot of favorite memories; I guess one being the stained glass window. When that was installed we were all very excited. Another memory that was fun, was when we had a Creighton professor come to Skutt, which was right after 9/11, and what his idea and what he wanted to do was to create a sculpture of people’s hands to symbolize people joining and coming together, and so the students got to be a part of that by having their hands being molded into the statue so I thought that was neat. I have always been very appreciative of the administration because they have truly supported the arts and what we are doing.”