By Marit Gookin
Joy Jones and her daughter Jayden put up art for the Student Select Show last Saturday. (photo by Marit Gookin)
The long-running Student Select Art Show in Lander, which has been hosted by the Lander Art Center for many years now, was opened up to all Fremont County students this year, giving even more students a chance to potentially display their art in a professional setting.
“Lander’s such a great art-related community that supports … a great opportunity for students,” remarked Lander Valley High School (LVHS) art teacher Jason Dayton.
“I encourage students to come to the opening, especially,” said Zach Even, who also teaches art at LVHS. “It’s hard to imagine their artwork being seen in public – coming to this gives them that insight into how their art can be seen and appreciated out in the community.”
Also new to this year’s event was a shift in the timing of the Student Select Show; traditionally, Student Select has happened before students take pieces to compete at the Wyoming High School State Art Symposium, but this year it was moved to be after the symposium.
“It’s such an incredible thing that having switched Student Select to after symposium, we’re able to showcase who won at symposium,” enthused Lander Art Center (LAC) Outreach Director Oakley Boycott.
“Kudos to the teachers for being flexible for coming straight from symposium,” added LAC Executive Director Ari Kamil.
Symposium presents an exciting opportunity for students to showcase their art and potentially win prizes, scholarships, and the opportunity to have their art displayed in Washington, D.C. Dayton explained that Wyoming’s State Art Symposium is fairly unique within the region, and demonstrates the state’s dedication to encouraging the growth of young artists.
LVHS students who did well at symposium this year included Jordan Armajo, who was a finalist. Last year, Armajo’s work was selected to go on to represent Wyoming in a national competition in D.C.
“That was quite an honor,” observed Even.
Dayton, Even and their fellow art teacher Joy Jones, as well as a handful of volunteers, spent several hours this past Saturday setting up the show at the LAC; Dayton and Even came straight from symposium, actually getting to the art center before some of the prize-winning pieces from symposium had returned to Lander. Although the show is open to all Fremont County students this year, the LVHS teachers who worked to set up the show didn’t differentiate between works by their students versus students from other schools, carefully displaying all of the art submitted to the show from around the county.
Pottery has always been popular in the Fremont County arts community, and many students whose works are featured in the Student Select Show have carried on this tradition. A wide variety of glazes, firing methods, and artistic styles resulted in a plethora of unique pottery on display. It isn’t all pottery, however; paintings, drawings, and other mediums are also well-represented.
“There’s so many young, very talented artists in the community,” Kamil said. In Kamil’s opinion, the greatest thing about the Student Select Show is the professional development opportunities and encouragement it provides for budding artists. “It demonstrates that if you wanted to, you would be able to develop a professional art career in a place like Lander,” Kamil continued. “I think that’s really cool, to have a place and a niche to fill in your hometown.”
Dayton made a particular note of the way the support of the community can make a big impact on students, who are usually showing their art in a gallery for the first time at the Student Select Show. “I love that we get to do this here,” he said.
Boycott added that one Lander community member in particular is dedicated to making sure students have this opportunity: retired LVHS art teacher Bill Yankee.
“He’s been so encouraging in wanting to make this show happen,” she explained. “Specifically because it’s about young artists and arts education.”
The Student Select Show will remain up at the art center until May 12; it is traditionally taken down in late or mid-May in order to return the art back to students at the end of the school year.