Young creativity on display during Northwest Colorado Arts Council’s teen art show

Whether utilizing every color of the rainbow or sticking with black and white, the talents behind the Northwest Colorado Arts Council teen art show had all types of self-expression available.

A total of 50 pieces by 26 artists in middle school and high school are currently on display on the second floor of the Yampa Building, with the gallery’s opening night taking place Saturday evening.

The art includes paintings, photography, sculptures and more put together during the Arts Council’s summer sessions for young creatives.

“We could only house about 30 kids a session and usually had a full studio,” said organizer Jennifer Schreiner. “These kids have been fantastic, coming consistently, growing as artists. They’ve been learning a lot of new things, and we try to bring in people to help out with anything we don’t know how to do. We have had a lot of local artists volunteer and step up and help the kids; Janele Husband, Roberta Hawks, Ariane Caldwell, David Morris.”

The works were on sale during the show, with artists receiving 80 percent of the profits, and 10 percent apiece going to Craig Chamber of Commerce and the Arts Council.

The line of artworks along the wall included splashes of color of all hues.

For Mariyana Connolly, it was a turquoise background with the Vans logo in black.

“They told me they really wanted to put something in the art show, and I already had the background, so I just put that on it because it was the only thing I could think of,” Connolly said.

She added that she most liked hanging out with friends during studio time, which friend Kiki Bolton seconded.

“I love hanging out with my friends but also just having a place to do what I love,” Bolton said.

Bolton’s main contribution was a pencil sketch of a teenage girl inspired by one of her favorite TV shows.

“I did some of the shading here, but I did most of it at home,” Bolton said.

The centerpiece of the show was a wreath of popsicle sticks with drawings by multiple young artists.

Mercy Fontenot added eight of the sticks, some with gentle imagery and some with more intense scenes.

“They just said, ‘draw something where you only use black ink, and we’ll put them all together somehow,'” Fontenot said.

Fontenot and sister Gracie had multiple individual entries in the show, including a butterfly, dreamcatcher and an anime girl. Pink and purple were prominent in each, though the inspirations were different.

While the butterfly was drawn for a friend, the anime girl came from elsewhere.

“I have a book called ‘Sketch with Asia’ that shows how to draw bodies that I’ve been using to help me get better,” Fontenot said. “I took the pose out of that, but that’s about it.”

Fontenot said she hopes to keep doing art of all kinds.

“It helps keep me peaceful in life, and it’s what I hope to do in my future,” Fontenot said.

Aubry Downs likewise drew from Asian art for her piece, which includes a butterfly, sunrise and flowers, as well as Japanese script translating to “I love you.”

“It’s smoother, all blended, it’s more mellow,” Downs said of the Japanese style. “I took a college art class over last semester, and we took inspiration from old pieces. I really like drawing butterflies and my friend said the sun and flowers would look good, so I added that.”

Downs said she had worked on multiple formats, though her painting was the only one she finished on time.

“I was working on a clay dragon, but it wasn’t ready and didn’t get fired,” she said.

While she enjoyed the socialization of the summer classes, she also appreciated having the time reserved for growing as an artist.

“I’ve done art just for fun, but it would be fun to do a business off of it when I grow up,” Downs said. “Now it’s just a fun way to express myself.”

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