LA student art at River Arts: Wow! I attended the closing reception on Thursday, April 26 for the recent show at River Arts gallery in Damariscotta featuring the multifaceted art exhibition of Lincoln Academy art students, and I’ll just say it again – wow!
When I arrived, the very packed parking lot (on both sides of the gallery) let me know right away that I was in for a well-attended affair.
Inside, River Arts Executive Director Linda Morkeski and gallery volunteer (and wonderful artist) Alice De Mauriac welcomed guests as they arrived, giving them 12-page handouts containing the names and prices of the whopping 436 pieces – drawings, paintings, photographs, pottery, and more – in the show and who made them. De Mauriac’s charming husband, Julio Sanchez Banos, also a gallery volunteer, could be seen moving about the crowded main room of the expansive gallery chatting with reception-goers.
LA artists showing their work were also in attendance, taking time to talk about their art with attendees.
In one corner of the room, LA junior Leon Wang held court, discussing his beautiful marker and colored pencil drawings. His artist statement, hanging nearby, shared his philosophy about art: “Today, the silly, pointless, and purely unedifying are held up as the best of the modern art. Michelangelo carved his ‘David’ out of a slab of marble. The Los Angeles County Museum put on display a rock, weighing 240 tons, and claimed it a masterpiece of modern art! That’s how far the art standards have fallen.”
Across the room, near where her creative mixed media pieces hung, senior Hannah Davis made herself available for chatting (and for a photograph with her fantastic photographic self-portrait!). Davis told me she will study at Boston’s Emerson College in the fall – “tentatively film” in the school’s visual and media arts production program.
In the adjacent gallery room, senior Stella Shi entertained attendees with her charm and her charming pieces, including “Art Ingredients,” a framed set of six watercolor playing cards featuring various types of sushi.
The entire gallery, including the West Gallery, was noticeably populated with a lot of ceramic pieces. LA seems to be turning out a fair number of accomplished potters. From Jamayka Manter’s fine bowls and cups to Anthony Russell’s several hand-built pieces that made it into the show (after what he described in his statement as a “never-ending breaking of all of my stuff”) to the excellent work of Sarah Begin, Kenzie Ford, Damon Westhaver, Nolen Michael, and Hannah Workman, LA ceramicists made their presence known.
“For the ninth year, River Arts invited the art students and teachers from Lincoln Academy to take over the whole gallery for three weeks,” Morkeski told me after the show. “The students and teachers begin classes in September with this major event in their sights. Students and teachers do all the work to present the show. Students select the work they want to show, price it, arrange it for display, create artist statements, prepare the reception, and interact with reception visitors to discuss their work – all things that professional artists actually do in the course of showing and selling their work.”
Morkeski said that “visitors are amazed at the quality of the work. The artist statements are particularly valued. Teachers, community members, and parents comment that they see a side of students they had never seen before. Artists comment on the freshness and sincerity students express as they express their experience of discovering and making art.”
The LA Student Art Show at River Arts is definitely one to not miss, especially that wonderful closing reception!
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