Kingman art show featuring highly skilled high schoolers opens today

There’s no shortage of creativity here, as two 3-D pieces sit in front of several 2-D works.

AHRON SHERMAN/Miner<br> There’s no shortage of creativity here, as two 3-D pieces sit in front of several 2-D works.

The creation of first-year art exhibition, Perspectives, came from the need to provide high-school age artists the opportunity to exhibit their work.

Perspectives, however, is no every-artist-gets-a-ribbon exhibition. Only the very best pieces from the entrant schools made it through the jury process and into the show, and even fewer will win awards.

"I would like to see arts education take a more prominent place in Kingman," said Kingman Academy High School art teacher Donna McCarthy, the show's creator. "We just need to start out small and watch it grow."

Exhibition and competition are aspects of arts education that are not always offered locally. So, McCarthy invited every single high school - whether charter, public or online - in the county to be part of Perspectives. Other than KAHS, three schools took McCarthy up on the offer: Kingman High, Mohave High and Mohave Accelerated Learning Center. A couple of home-schooled high school students, who study art at M.Y. Art Studio with Kathey Hutchings, entered the show as well.

Though Mohave Community College holds some high school art shows, they are not juried, McCarthy said. That means anything can be submitted, she added. That's not the case with Perspectives.

Each participating school was limited to eight 2-D pieces and three 3-D works. Teachers at each school needed to jury the work their students submitted and select the very best entries.

"I chose the work that was more from the heart," said McCarthy, speaking about her own process of selecting the best pieces.

Of course, the pieces she selected needed to demonstrate sound technique, but McCarthy wanted her students to push for concept and creativity as well.

"It's difficult to develop your own aesthetic," she said. "But that's what being an artist is all about."

Though one freshman did make it into the show, McCarthy said the vast majority of KAHS entrants are 11th- and 12th-graders.

"Their work doesn't (usually) look like this freshman year," McCarthy said, pointing to the professional style pieces peppering the Perspectives showroom.

Perspectives opens from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. today at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, 400 W. Beale St. Starting today, the show runs through May 11. It is supported by Kingman Regional Medical Center, the Mohave Artists and Craftsmen Guild, Safeway and the KAHS Booster Club.

A total of 32 two-D (this includes photography) and 12 three-D pieces are on display, and $650 was donated for prizes. The artist of whichever piece - 2-D, 3-D and photographic - wins the distinction of "Best in Show" receives $150. In each of the three categories, 1st-place winners receive $50, 2nd-place winners get $25, 3rd-place winners get $15 and four honorable mentions receive $10 apiece. One people's choice award will go out as well; the winner of that receives $50.

Three judges, Sandy and Mike Rusinko and Kay Ellerman, perused the pieces Monday, and the awards will be given out during the opening reception today. Their decisions were based on a set of criteria outlined by McCarthy.

First, there's concept. Is the subject matter original, and does it evoke emotion? Next, there's craftsmanship. How did the student use the medium or media to express herself, and is it clear she has put effort and time into her craft? Third, there's presentation. Quite simply, is the work presented professionally? Lastly, one cannot forget artistic elements and design principles. Does the artist understand composition and everything that goes with it, and is he using design principles to convey his message?

In the future, McCarthy hopes to the see the show grow, as she would like to see local tribes, all the cities of Mohave County and more alternative schools involved in the exhibition.