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Nourishment through art by students
Nourishment of all that is beautiful might seem a superfluous endeavor to some.
But not to the art students of the Studio Draw and Design class at South Whidbey High School.
"Aesthetic Nutrients" is the name of their show which runs this weekend at the Front Room Gallery.
As the title of the show demonstrates, these 2D art students have an extremely reverent respect for the visual.
Beauty is, in their eyes, vital to life.
"It feeds the soul with visceral stimulation," said Darcy Page, a senior currently enrolled in the class taught by Don Wodjenski.
Page said she is not a gifted artist, as she believes many of her fellow students in the class are. But, she wanted to participate in the advanced level art class in part because she believes Wodjenski is an exceptional teacher.
"I've had other classes with him before," Page said.
"He's a great teacher; he doesn't need to be impressed by us and is very approachable."
Page said Wodjenski shows an unique involvement with the students that goes beyond the classroom.
He has participated in student performances and art shows outside of the school and seems to really care about the students beyond what they do in class, Page said.
"He's good at giving everyone a push toward the foundation they need to grow as artists," Page added.
Page, it seems, is expressing the general consensus these students have for a teacher who believes in the nourishment which they deem necessary to survive.
Wodjenski has the advantage of working with people who are on the cusp of adulthood while still retaining that certain daring-do possessed by the young.
The unabashed sincerity of a teenager is compelling and fleeting. So, it seems appropriate that this show includes a "Poetry Jam" for the senior culminating project of two students who have embraced the written word as readily as they have visual art.
Nicole Parnell and Hailey Johnson are earnest enough about the power of expression that they go even beyond the work they've done that hangs on the walls and dare to bare their souls aloud.
"Our writing reflects our youth and our love for the people and places that have touched us," Johnson said. "We hope our poetry conveys the message of how grateful we are for life, that all aspects of it are precious and should be experienced with enthusiasm."
Parnell is equally excited about the opportunity poetry allows her.
"My reasoning for loving poetry the way I do comes from the many places I've lived, the many people I've met and the many feelings my body and soul pick up each day with every new experience I take in," Parnell said.
The sophomore, junior and senior students of the Studio Draw and Design class invite everyone to grub, nosh and chow down on their work with their eyes and their ears and to get some good-looking nourishment for the soul to boot.
"Aesthetic Nutrients" is comprised of more than 20 students showing hundreds of 2D pieces including block prints, oil pastels, acrylic paintings, photography and collage.
The show will include the personal statements of each artist and their perception of the artistic process.
"Aesthetic Nutrients" opens at noon Saturday, May 24 with an artists' reception, including refreshments, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The show continues from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 25 and from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, May 26.
The "Poetry Jam" is at 2 p.m. Sunday and welcomes anyone to bring a poem and participate in the reading.