Art work hung for Mid-Ohio Valley Student Art Show

MICHAEL KELLY The Marietta Times Madeline Grant sets up space for curating entries in the annual Riverside Artists Gallery student art show, which opens at the gallery on Second Street Thursday night.

The work of more than 70 high school artists from around the area is going up on display at the Riverside Artists Gallery for the gallery’s seventh annual Mid-Ohio Valley High School Student Art Show.

On Tuesday afternoon, Betsy Cook and Madeline Grant were carefully placing nails and moving art around to get the right balance and maximum impact for each of the pieces, which ranged from ceramic vessels and sculpture to oil paintings and digital art.

The exhibit opening is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m.

“It’s work, but we love to encourage these young artists,” Cook said.

The exhibit will include about 70 pieces, with awards of up to $75 available in three categories – 3D, which includes mainly ceramics and sculptures; 2D, primarily framed paintings; and digital, which is computer-generated art. Cook said the award money was contributed as a Stanton W. Brock Discovery Grant and channeled through the Marietta Community Foundation.

Grant said the show can do more than just encourage young artists – it can show them that art can be more than a secondary pursuit.

“It’s important for these students to know they can make a living at art, it can be a career,” she said. “You need to start early, you have to be stubborn and hard-headed and be confident in your own work.”

Grant said she became interested in art as a sophomore in high school, switched to photography for a while and then returned to art to do portraits.

One student who participated in the show during high school, Etta Stull, has since graduated and is now volunteering at the gallery, Cook said. Stull will speak at the awards event Thursday night.

Teachers, Cook said, are an important link in the show’s success.

“The teachers go above and beyond for this. They jury the work, arrange to have it framed so it looks like something suitable for hanging in a gallery,” she said.

Scott Bookman, a retired art teacher from Williamstown High School, was in the gallery Tuesday setting up a display of the jewelry and photography he now creates as a full-time artist. He recalled the influence of the annual art show on his students.

“It means a great deal, it’s rare for students to get a chance to exhibit their work in a gallery setting,” he said. “Word gets out about this among teachers and students from year to year. They tell the younger students about the success they’ve had, and the teachers see it as a great thing, a rare opportunity.”

Participating high schools are Fort Frye, Waterford, Belpre and Marietta and St. Mary’s and Parkersburg in West Virginia. Parkersburg, Cook said, usually has an outsized presence because of the heft of its art program.

“They’ve got six art teachers,” she said.

The opening will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday night, with the awards ceremony starting at 7 p.m. The exhibit remains up through March 30.

Mid-Ohio Valley High School Student Art Show

•When: Opening and awards, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, with awards announced at 7 p.m.

•Where: Riverside Artists Gallery, 219 Second St.

•How long: Show will remain up through March 30.

•Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

• For information: 740-376-0797.

Source: Riverside Artists Gallery.