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LCHS puts art center stage
Students talent, flair focus of 2010 Art Fest
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The Liberty County High School Women’s Choral Ensemble sings before a crowd at the LCHS 2010 Arts Fest Thursday. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
Just like in any big city high-brow art gallery patrons milled around various art displays, commenting on various pieces while servers in starched black and white uniforms served refreshments and young virtuosos performed.
This was the animated scene at Liberty County High School Thursday evening, during the school’s 2010 Arts Fest.
Students, parents, teachers and others viewed student artwork spread across eight categories: drawing, painting, mixed media, three-dimensional art, wearable art, graphic design, photography and sequential art such as animation.
LCHS Fine Arts Department Chair Marjett Schille said students’ entries were judged on creativity, the technique they used in handling each particular medium and each piece’s design qualities.
“This is our fourth Arts Fest,” Schille said. “Not only do we have a juried art show for students but we also have performances by band ensembles, the choir, drama students and sometimes, original poetry written and read by the students.  We have light refreshments and try to create the atmosphere of an art festival or art opening.  Art Club students serve as waiters and waitresses, hospitality greeters, put up and take down the show and act as security for the artwork during the event.”  
Schille explained, in her view, why public schools should continue to offer students quality art programs.
“When we look around us, virtually everything made-made that we see – cars, clothes, shoes, houses, packaging for foods, etc. – was designed by someone,” she said. “The elements and principles of art needed to create all of this are the bedrock of any art program. Many art careers are available to our students, such as illustrators, film makers, fashion and culinary designers and arts professionals in business.”
Schille added “art skills are thinking skills” and can translate into higher test scores.
“Art also develops creativity in our students,” she said. “Art, whether (pursued as) a career or leisure time activity, immeasurably enriches the lives of our students.”  
Students from LCHS and Bradwell Institute in ninth through 12 grades entered the juried competition, Schille said.
“They do not have to be in an art class or have taken an art class to enter. Work entered need not be projects done in an art class,” she said.  
Students were permitted to enter up to three pieces, one per category.
“Generally, we receive over 100 pieces of artwork from students for showing and the event usually draws around 500 people,” Schille said.
Bradwell Institute student Alton Guyton was awarded first place in drawing. Guyton’s two entries included the sketch of a group of wide-eyed children, which took first place, and an elderly man. Both drawings were inspired by actual photographs, he said.
“I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid,” Guyton said. His entries were completed in art class and intended for the competition, he said.
Guyton said he is thinking about becoming an architect someday.
LCHS student Emily Carrier placed third in the drawing category. The high school sophomore drew Disney’s boy band The Jonas Brothers.
“I’ve always drawn,” Carrier said. “I’m thinking about (a career) in hand-drawn animation.”
LCHS sophomore Rachel Marquez placed third in the three-dimensional art category for her wannabe-dragon ceramic piece.
“He’s a blue dinosaur who wants to fly like a dragon,” Marquez said. “I gave him a hat and (pilot’s) goggles.”
Marquez said she’s always been “artistic.”
“This is the first time I’d really, seriously worked with clay,” she said.
LCHS senior Mary Craft is a renaissance teenager, dabbling in visual and theater arts, and in music.
Craft placed third in painting for a brightly colored ceramic plate she crafted and painted.
“It’s a Mandala (Indian circle art) project,” she said. “The green is ‘rigid’ like land and the blue ‘flows’ like water.”
Craft is president of the LCHS International Thespian Society and sings in chorus. However, she intends to study nursing after graduation.
The high school procured a seasoned judge to critique students’ impressive entries, according to Schille.
Mike Lewis, an art specialist with the Liberty County School System, judged this year’s Art Fest, she said. Lewis is a batik artist, said the fine arts department chair. According to, batiking is an art form that originated in Indonesia and South East Asia. It is a type of fabric art that uses wax painting and dying to craft beautiful designs. Batik art can be hung, worn or used as bed linens.  
First, second and third place Arts Fest show winners in each category received ribbons and gift cards, Schille said.  The LCHS Art Club supplied competition prizes with money raised through fund-raising activities, she explained.
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