COLUMBIA — Although finals are approaching, several Columbia high school students had something else to stress about Monday — for some, it was the first time showing their art in a studio.
The closing reception for the Resident Arts' After-school Teen Artist Residency was held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Orr Street Studios, displaying the work of 10 young artists.
"Teenagers are just fun to work with because they're smart and they're grown-up and full of enthusiasm and energy, so that's fun," said Madeleine LeMieux, founder and director of Resident Arts.
LeMieux and three other local artists introduced the students to different art forms over the course of 12 weeks. LeMieux taught collaborative painting, Fran Lakatos taught stencil making, Frank Stack taught ink drawing and Monica Hand taught book binding.
Twenty-four students applied, LeMieux said. Sam Hiebert, Lilly Isdes, Sierra Haley, Erin Barchet, Kaylee Morinelli-Pyles, Megan Goyette, Damien Edmiston, Vivian Bagley, Emma Davenport and Lizzy Remus were accepted to participate in the second iteration of the program, which first showcased student art in June.
Not only did the students learn different art skills, but Goyette, a senior at Rock Bridge High School, said she felt they had also formed friendships within the program.
"It's a very eclectic group, and I have just learned a lot from them," Goyette said.
Davenport, a junior at Battle High School, said the residency was a great place to make friends.
"It's a really cool group of people," Davenport said. "Everyone has the same interests and we all care about the same topics."
In addition to individual art projects, students worked on a collaborative mural. The mural depicts multiple televisions in a storefront window, each displaying a different social issue the teens feel strongly about. Included in the mural's issues were Planned Parenthood and abortion, coverage of the events in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of Michael Brown and acceptance of one's body.
"We had a lot of issues to go over and we had a hard time deciding which one we wanted to focus on," said Hiebert, a senior at Rock Bridge. "But we felt a lot of those issues fell under the interpretation of media, media spin."
Among the show's attendees was Brenda Selman, who leads a 4-H advanced arts group for several clubs in the county. Selman said the mural was particularly impressive.
"Artists working together in a collaborative fashion is not typical and actually can be very difficult because of personality and skills, and artists tend to have very strong feelings about their own perspective," Selman said. "So, to work together on a piece I thought really was an intriguing idea."
Some students said they might pursue art careers after graduating high school. Davenport would like to eventually become an art professor. Hiebert and Barchet said they wanted to attend art school in Chicago.
"I mean, it's really cool being a teen and having this opportunity as a teenager to display your work and talk to people about it and kind of have a studio space in a really big studio downtown," Davenport said. "Support Resident Arts, that's all I have to say."
LeMieux said Resident Arts hopes to continue the program every spring and fall. Resident Arts will be moving out of the Orr Street Studios into its own space by January. The student residency received $500 from the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, LeMieux said, which Resident Arts matched to pay for supplies for the student artists.
LeMieux approached Davenport during the show with some news: Kelsey Hammond, a co-owner of Yellow Dog Bookshop, saw one of Davenport's paintings on Instagram. Though it wasn't listed for sale, Hammond made an offer for Davenport's depiction of flowers downtown, done in watercolor and pen and ink.
"Is $50 alright?" LeMieux asked Davenport.
"Yeah," Davenport said with a big smile. "My first ever sold artwork."
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