BROCK BERGEY/Chatfield News
Art students and their teachers enjoyed an opening reception at the student art show in Lanesboro on Saturday. Representing the Chatfield students and art program were, from left, Pam Lisowski, art instructor Abbey Potter and Jo Glenzinski. The are standing in front of the artwork submitted by students from Chatfield. 
BROCK BERGEY/Chatfield News Art students and their teachers enjoyed an opening reception at the student art show in Lanesboro on Saturday. Representing the Chatfield students and art program were, from left, Pam Lisowski, art instructor Abbey Potter and Jo Glenzinski. The are standing in front of the artwork submitted by students from Chatfield. 
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Chatfield High School’s students have become two-dimensional exhibitionists.

That’s what makes them great.

“It is all two-dimensional work. The materials used were graphite, oil pastel, acrylic paint, colored pencil and work created digitally on students’ iPads, and there are works by 17 ninth through 12th graders,” said Chatfield High School (CHS) art instructor Abbey Potter.

The art students have their sketches, paintings, oil pastel and digital works on exhibit at the Lanesboro Arts Gallery in Lanesboro this month, from March 11 through 26.

Potter explained that she chose the artwork that will be at the gallery this month.

“They were chosen by me, based on creativity, effort, attention to craftsmanship and overall success. All of the artwork is created in class this year, and the pieces chosen took countless hours of time to create. They really are the best of the best,” she said. “This show is exciting to be a part of because there is a limited number of pieces I can send to the show — since it is a group show with Lanesboro, Mabel-Canton, Fillmore Central, Rushford-Peterson and Chatfield. I can only send 20 pieces total. It is also work shown in a real art gallery, which is new and an honor for students. It gives them the opportunity to get validation from the staff at the gallery about how wonderful their work is.”

Students whose work was chosen for the show get to enjoy being recognized for their artistic abilities, and that may, in turn, inspire them to explore various media further.

“There are a few aspects to the show that inspire students to create more. Like I mentioned before, getting that validation that ‘my artwork is good enough to be selected and shown in a real art gallery’ is very exciting for them,” Potter said. “When I tell students their work has been chosen, they are often shocked, surprised and happy to hear the news. This show is also juried, which means the staff at the gallery writes up comments about each piece of work and sends it back to me at the end of the show. Reading the reviews from a stranger critiquing their work also motivates them as well.”

She went on to note, “Students that get a chance to view the show are also inspired by other students’ artwork. They usually talk to me at the gallery opening or later in class about specific pieces, and how the artist did what they did and if they could do something similar in class. I think it also pushes them to try new things if they see something really cool but kind of out of their comfort zone.”

Potter feels that participating in the Lanesboro show is an opportunity for her students to show that they have learned well from their public school art classes and also for her to develop new projects for them.

“To me, the show is really about supporting the arts in the schools and collaborating with the other teachers. The opening reception gives me the opportunity to catch up with the other teachers from the surrounding schools and ask about how they came up with ‘this’ or ‘that’ for their projects. I leave with a lot of great ideas for future projects or techniques to try with my students. The reception also gives me a chance to meet students’ parents, talk with them and their child about all of the artwork on display, and most rewarding, see the excited look on the student’s face when they view their piece framed, correctly lit and hanging on a gallery wall.”

The art instructor enjoys visiting with students’ parents and the public about the works that have been chosen for the show.

“The most common reaction I get from parents and public is just how wonderful the students’ artwork is,” Potter said. “There are some very talented student artists from all five of the participating schools, and even I am shocked to see how sophisticated some of the pieces are. I hope parents have a sense of pride for their child when they see their artwork in the gallery, and I hope the public continues to see how important the arts are in the community.”

This show is not the only one in which Potter’s students entered their work.

Potter said her students also had the opportunity to participate in the Southeast Minnesota Art Show in Rochester at the Rochester Art Center last month.

“That show was only on display for a few weeks, and 30 surrounding schools participated, so I was only able to send 15 pieces,” he said. “The Southeast Minnesota Art Show showcased work from grades seven through 12, so our middle school artists also had the chance to participate, which I think is very encouraging to them.”

She related, “There are plenty of other wonderful student artists that are not in art class right now, were almost chosen for this show or had already had artwork in the Rochester Art Center Show last month. There will be one more art show this year on Sunday, May 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the Chatfield High School. There are so many incredible pieces set aside, being made and waiting to be created this year that will be showcased at that show. I hope people will come and support our Chatfield student artists then as well.”

Until then, Potter invited the public to stop in at Lanesboro Arts and take a look at the student artwork on exhibit there.

“The Lanesboro Art Center is very supportive and graciously hosts this event every year,” she concluded. “They take the time to create all of the promotional items, hand all of the artwork, organize the event and provide food and refreshments at the opening reception. This could not be possible without their whole staff, and I am very grateful for their continuous support of our students. This is a show I look forward to all year and am never disappointed by.”

The Lanesboro Arts high school art exhibit runs through Sunday, March 26. The gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the show, which also features ceramics and mixed media sculpture.