BY STEVEN JUPITER
BRANDON—In place of our usual feature on local kids’ artwork, Our Creative Kids, this week we’re visiting the Brandon Artists Guild (BAG) for their annual Student Art Show, featuring dozens of works by kids through the RNESU district (art teachers in parentheses): Neshobe (John Brodowski), Lothrop (Matthew Aucoin), Otter Creek Academy (Matthew Aucoin), Barstow (Jennifer Hogan), and Otter Valley Union Middle and High Schools (Dasha Kalisz and Dakota Rider).
The show showcases some delightful work by kids ranging from K through 12. The works were all selected by the students’ teachers. There are portraits, landscapes, abstractions…done in many unique styles and in many different mediums. There’s undeniable talent in this pool of kids!
All the work on display is charming, but some standouts include the fun glazed-ceramic monsters made by OVUMS 7th-grade students; the surprisingly sophisticated abstract watercolor made by Neshobe kindergartener Blake Pockette; the desolate winter scene by OVUHS student Charlotte Newton; the compelling pencil portrait by Lothrop 4th-grader Wyatt Davine. There’s a stunning wall hanging composed of tessellated cubes containing drawings made by OVUMS 7th graders.
There are also lovely examples of all the teachers’ own work. Ms. Kalisz, who teaches at OVUMS, is also a member of BAG.
The BAG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit cooperative run by member artists. According to Jeannie Podolak, a member who specializes in prints and who organized the student show, the organization’s goal “is to support arts education.” BAG donates money to each of the teachers’ art programs.
Podolak’s own background is in art education. She taught art at Barstow in the 80s and at Otter Valley in the 90s and 00s. So, her interest in featuring student works is deeply personal.
“If you’re not a parent,” Podolak said, “you don’t know what’s going on in the school system. We’re dealing with the future of the community. A lot of kids use art to help figure out their identity.”
The show runs through February 26. The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday 10 to 5 and on Sunday from 10 to 4. Go see the great work our community’s children are producing!