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On display: Center Grove’s annual art show kicks off


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Kim McKenzie, an eighth grader at Center Grove Middle School Central shows off a piece of art that will be in the art show.
Kim McKenzie, an eighth grader at Center Grove Middle School Central shows off a piece of art that will be in the art show.

Cliff Fisher, an eighth grader at Center Grove Middle School Central holds a piece of art that will be in the Center Grove art s how.
Cliff Fisher, an eighth grader at Center Grove Middle School Central holds a piece of art that will be in the Center Grove art s how.


Crayon drawings perfected by a first-grader will be on display along with a charcoal self-portrait completed by an 18-year-old.

Paintings by middle school students and elementary students’ ceramics will be part of the annual Center Grove art show, too.

The annual Center Grove art show runs from May 8 to 11 with more than 3,000 pieces of artwork crafted by Center Grove students in all grades.

Educators tout the decades-old show as being a way for all art students to get a glimpse of what it’s like to have their work on display.

“It’s awesome to show the community what we are doing,” said Chelsea Fleming, art teacher at Center Grove Middle School North. “It’s different than just putting it in the hall (at the middle school).”

For at least 28 years, Center Grove art teachers have been plucking some of the best work their students do for the show. The annual art show coincides with the high school’s musical. The event is meant to be a huge festival of arts, educators said.

Alumni who had art in the show as students can now see their own children’s art in the halls of the high school. Family and friends come, too.

Art is personal and subjective and is meant to be seen, said Rick Jones, art teacher at Center Grove High School.

Other artists such as dancers and actors have built-in audiences at their shows. People flock to see a play or attend a dance competition. Local student artists don’t have that, Jones said.

“The visual artists don’t have that type of audience on their own,” he said. “This gives them the audience they deserve.”

Art teachers may have small art shows at their schools or hang the best art in the hallways next to their classrooms. The art show brings hundreds of residents to see the work students produce, Fleming said.

“It’s awesome to show the community what we are doing,” she said.

Younger students going to the show can get an idea of what they can learn in older grades, said Julie Shaver, art teacher at Center Grove Middle School Central. Older students can see what their younger siblings are doing and remember some of the pieces they made in elementary school art, she added.

Other students can see that hundreds of their peers can be successful in making art that is worthy of being displayed, she said.

And students get a different perspective.

“You walk into the art show and say, ‘Wow. Students did this,” she said. “When I show students something, they say, ‘Of course you are good. You are the teacher.’”

Art at the show isn’t necessarily the best art that the district as a whole has to offer. Teachers look at their students’ work throughout the year and pick pieces based on how the assignment was met and whether it is a student’s personal best, Fleming said.

“Other times it is the best thing I have seen from that student,” she said.

Having an art show is a motivator for students to work hard at the subject year round, educators said.

“There is this huge element of pride,” Shaver said.

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