NAHS Vice President, Caitlin Ayers decorates the doodle board along with some middle schoolers.

The Future Looks Bright for the Art Department

Jan 31, 2023

Intended to instill confidence in future Niles West students and encourage them to continue with art in high school, the Niles West Young Creative show did all that and more. On Jan. 25, four feeder schools gathered their most passionate artists, who put their best pieces in the gallery and enjoyed a ceremony to recognize their achievements.

From embroidered mixed media pieces to black and white scratch-board projects, teachers selected a wide variety of art to represent their schools. The gallery included colorful self-portraits and Keith Haring-inspired paintings detailing social issues that the students are passionate about.

“Seeing my art in a gallery was cool because it was a project that I worked really hard on and had a fun time making. It felt pretty special to see it up there with all the other cool [pieces],” Lincoln Jr. High 8th grader River Delman said.

Many teachers worked hard to make this show come to life, spending time in articulation meetings to ensure the artwork was ready for the gallery. In total, the middle school teachers picked out 20 of their best 2D pieces.

“We’ve been doing this for the past 16 years and every time it evolves a little bit depending on what works and doesn’t, and what artwork teachers pick out. It’s a lot of work, but we always need more students in the art program and this is the way we can get students involved and interested before their freshman year,” West art teacher Barb Wismer said.

When looking for what pictures to include in the gallery, the teachers involved mainly focus on one thing: passion.

“The thing that makes students stand out when I look for pieces to pick for the show would be students that truly care about what they’re doing and how that thoughtfulness and consideration goes into their art. They’re not just thinking, ‘What can I do to get an A?’ but instead thinking, ‘How can I express myself?’ That to me is a true spark,” Lincoln Jr. High art teacher Stacey Lowery said.

One of the messages Lowery intends to have students get out of this gallery is that being an artist is something anyone can achieve if they work at it.

“The biggest thing I do is instill confidence in their own passion, so really trying to remind students that you shouldn’t expect to have every skill right now. If you love art, it’s something you should pursue because you can be an artist no matter what,” Lowery said.


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