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Thu, Feb. 20

GC student artists express themselves in Art For Our Park exhibit
Exhibit open through March 22 in Grand Canyon National Park headquarters

Grand Canyon School third grade student Ceres T. won Best in Show for her piece titled “Home,” oil on paper, in this year’s Art for Our Park juried exhibit at Grand Canyon. Photo/Michael Quinn

Grand Canyon School third grade student Ceres T. won Best in Show for her piece titled “Home,” oil on paper, in this year’s Art for Our Park juried exhibit at Grand Canyon. Photo/Michael Quinn

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Beautifully painted Grand Canyon landscapes, witty and gestural drawings of children playing, expressive pictures of families (and their pets) at work and play, hilarious titles and charming images; - this is what the public has come to expect from the annual Arts for our Park children's juried art exhibit. The 2013 show is no exception.

This year marks the 10th year of the local art show that features the work of Grand Canyon School K-12 children. Organizers schedule the show to coincide with National Youth Art Month. Each year the project organizers establish a theme for the student artists to respond to. A panel of professional artists selects the final pieces that will be on exhibit.

The 2013 theme is "Expressing Yourself," which challenged students to consider what is important to them, and to make art on that subject.

The theme statement helps the artists find their own direction:

"A landscape painting might express your appreciation of beauty, a portrait of your family might express your love for them, and a drawing of Grand Canyon might express your wonder of nature or your commitment to protect the environment and the earth. Sometimes an artist wants to express something harder to capture, like sadness or joy or fear or anticipation. Expressive art goes beyond what is seen; it is an opportunity to share your ideas, thoughts, imagination and concerns. You're telling a story with your art - telling the story of what matters to you as an individual. It's personal... it's about sharing what it is to be a human being. Expressing yourself is what it's all about."

This year students submitted 155 individual art pieces for the jurors' consideration. The volunteer jurors arduously narrowed the submissions down to to 38 pieces. January South Rim National Park Service Artist-in-Residence, sculptor Loren Schwerd from New Orleans, and Grand Canyon local and artist Colette Aspas acted as this year's jurors.

Aspas' involvement in this project represents a poetic full-circle; she graduated from Grand Canyon School in 2005, and that year earned Best of Show. The jurors truly agonized over this project. Each piece of the submitted work had its own strengths and charm. In the end the number of pieces the jurors selected to be shown was based on simple logistics, determined by the exhibit space available in Park Headquarters lobby.

In addition to the juried portion of this exhibit, Grand Canyon High School art-oriented graduating seniors are invited to submit what they consider to be their strongest work for an associated exhibit, curated by Grand Canyon School art teacher Amy McBroom.

This year four girls from the class of 2013 are exhibiting two pieces each; one of these pieces will be selected for a Best of the Seniors award. The senior participants are Natasha L., Starlivia K., Heather T. and Kayley W.

Grand Canyon School's Superintendent Sharyl Allen, McBroom, and South Rim NPS Artist-in-Residence Program Coordinator Rene Westbrook collaboratively organized the exhibit. Xanterra Corporation (Jon Streit, General Manager of Grand Canyon's south rim Xanterra Corporation each year selects and provides the "Best of the Senior" award); The Red Feather Inn (who underwrites the Best of Show prize); Squires Inn Best Western (who provides underwriting for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes), and the three Superintendents in the Grand Canyon community - Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga, Albright Training Center Superintendent Laura Rotegard, and School Superintendent Sharyl Allen all underwrite the exhibit.

Best of Show this year was awarded to fourth grader Ceres T, for her expressive and beautiful landscape painting, entitled "Home." First Prize was awarded to 11th grader Blythe M. S. for her manipulated digital photograph entitled "Self." Second Place went to ninth grader Kayci K, for her mixed-media "Untitled" drawing. Third Place went to third grader Aisling W. for her oil pastel drawing "Untitled." Honorable Mentions were awarded to sixth grader Meaghan D. for her self-portrait collage "Fall Portrait" and to third grader Allison T. for her mixed media drawing "Me and My Cat." At press time, judges had yet to identify the Best of Senior and Superintendent's Award.

Westbrook congratulated all the students who submitted work for consideration and to the young artists whose work was ultimately selected. She said the jurors and organizers were impressed and inspired by the artists' creative ability to express themselves.

Park Headquarters is open daily from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The exhibit will be on-display in the lobby through March 22.

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