BROCK BERGEY/NEWS LEADER
Anna Jorgenson, a Fillmore Central junior, stands between her two art projects on display at the student exhibition at Lanesboro Arts, which opened last Saturday with an artists reception. The pig painting —  “Piggy” — is done in oils and her self-portrait drawing is in pencil. 
BROCK BERGEY/NEWS LEADER Anna Jorgenson, a Fillmore Central junior, stands between her two art projects on display at the student exhibition at Lanesboro Arts, which opened last Saturday with an artists reception. The pig painting — “Piggy” — is done in oils and her self-portrait drawing is in pencil. 
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The creativity of young artists from five Fillmore County high schools is being celebrated at a professional art gallery in Lanesboro.

“This is an environment where they’re actually putting themselves out in public, it’s out of the school,” explained Lanesboro Arts gallery director Robbie Brokken. “The kids are very proud.”

Artwork by a select-group of students from Chatfield, Fillmore Central, Lanesboro, Mabel-Canton and Rushford-Peterson is on display through March 26.

According to Brokken, the show features a variety of art projects, including ceramics, acrylics, pastels, ink, pencil and mixed media sculpture.

She noted art teachers from each school district decided which creations were put front and center.

“It feels amazing,” Anna Jorgenson said with a big smile. The Fillmore Central junior has two art pieces in the exhibit. “I have a self-portrait done in pencil and pig that I painted with oils.”

Accustomed to acrylics, this marked Jorgenson’s first go-around with oil painting — calling it a “pain to do.”

Now, proud and pleased of the end product, she credited her art teacher, Carrie Mathison, for her encouragement.

“I always try to push this as a big stepping stone and great experience,” Mathison said. “We always look at it (art show) as a very big honor for them.”

Jorgenson described art as a great escape from the everyday stresses of life.

“Art helps me a lot,” she added. “It’s my favorite class and last class of the day. So everything I went through that day gets put on canvas or put on paper.”

Mathison, who’s in her seventh year of teaching at Fillmore Central, said there’s a special connection and appreciation shared by the talented teens.

“They like to see the variety of work from other schools as well,” she added. “There’s just kind of an awe and admiration at the same point.”

Brokken explained each of the five schools submitted 20 entries. Four of Lanesboro’s entries were the brain children of Michaela Brazee.

“They get to see what’s going on inside my head,” the high school senior said. “I get to share my creativity with everybody.”

Brazee dabbled in several mediums – digital, scratchboard, transfer drawing and watercolor.

“Being able to put down what I can’t use as words but showing it as an art form, it’s just really amazing,” she added.

“A lot of times I think students think their work is just contained inside a bubble at school and no one is really interested in their ideas and their talents and skills,” stated Lanesboro art teacher Matt Wagner.

He stressed that certainly was not the case and explained it’s also important for the public to see that art is an important part of the school day.

Wagner, who started teaching at Lanesboro this school year, said he always tries to keep an open mind when it comes to project ideas; however, he noted there is one catch.

“My goal is to force students to do work that they can’t Google,” he laughed. “I want them to take their background and put it in a visual form.”

The high school art show kicked off Saturday, March 11, with an opening reception for students, their families and their teachers.

I applaud the teachers because they go the extra mile and give these kids some challenging projects that they have to rise to,” Brokken said at the exhibit opening. “They do a great job.”

Stena Lieb, Lanesboro native and second year Mabel-Canton art teacher, described art as much more than a course offering.

“It helps you to push your creativity, to think outside-of-the box and to really adapt to different challenges that life can put in front of you,” she elaborated. “The arts, in general, help create individuals who are well rounded.”

Mabel-Canton senior Yasmine Scrabeck agreed with her teacher — using an analogy between art and math to illustrate her point.

“For math you’ve got rules for this and rules for that,” she explained. “With art there aren’t really rules, you have mediums and ways to express yourself and you can just go wild. There isn’t anything wrong.”

Three of Scrabeck’s designs are included in the Mabel-Canton section of the gallery. Her favorite is a watercolor of a fox, whose figure looks like stained glass. She never thought the distinct design would be part of a public exhibit.

“It’s a little bit weird,” she joked. “We’ve had our art pieces up at school conferences for parents to see, but to have it up in gallery — even in a small town like Lanesboro — seems a little bit overwhelming.”

One thing it’s not, though, Lieb said, is competitive. No prizes are up for grabs at this art show.

“I think they all help support each other that way, instead of being competitive about who’s better,” she commented.

Continuing through March 26, Brokken called the annual high school art show one of her favorite events.

“Our push is to bring as many people as we can who have never been here before,” she concluded.

Located at 103 Parkway Ave., Lanesboro Arts is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.