Dozens of Union Academy Middle School art students had their work go on display Thursday at the Bartow Public Library where it will remain on view until May.
Eighty pieces of art, from graffiti-style renderings and watercolors to Holocaust depictions in varying media was carefully curated by art teacher Beverly Williams who said virtually every one of her students had their work displayed at the “In the Eye of the Beholder” exhibit in the library’s second-floor gallery.
Festooning the walls were the likes of clenched fists surrounding a swastika next to a multimedia collage that captures the suffering of Holocaust’s victims to pastel water colors that look like fine stained glass.
Today’s version of woodblock prints were side-by-side with graffiti-inspired paintings with vivid colors like those used in street art around the world.
Daniella Gonzalez, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Bartow said her pseudo-stained glass water color was inspired by magazine photos coupled with triangles and flowers.
“I wanted to see if I could combine all three,” the budding artist said, as her mother, Lisset Celestrin, admired the work.
Thirteen-year-old Maddie Landreth’s similarly styled guitar painting doesn’t represent her career goals since neither music nor painting are her primary interest.
“I really want to be a photographer,” said the Mulberry teen as her mother, Heather Landreth, also admired her work with pastel colors.
Two bold pieces featured faces: one by Mouna Douzan an eighth-grader and another entitled, “A Pattern of Myself” by Kaitlyn Bearden, also an eighth-grade student at the Bartow school.
Sixth grader Chloe Prewitt showed some whimsey when she submitted a line-art piece of a fire dog and the fire department equipment in the background.
The Holocaust display is the result of an interdisciplinary study where social studies spilled over into Williams’ art classes, she said. She explained that she used the student’s studies of Nazi Germany to teach her students how color and texture could display emotions and reflect moods.
“The students grasped the concepts beautifully in their pieces,” the teacher explained. Accompanying each Holocaust piece is an artist’s statement on why their subject mater was chosen and what the piece was interpreting from their viewpoint.
On the lighter side, in addition to the artwork decorating the walls, there are whimsical sculptures displayed in a case to illustrate alternate media the fledgling artists may embrace through the school’s art program.