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GOOD NEWS!: RCS students strut their artistic stuff

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

RCS freshman Abbagail Givens with her untitled mixed media piece. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — RCS’s got talent.

And that talent was on full display last Tuesday when the district held art shows at the middle school and high school showcasing works by area students.

The lobby and library at RCS High School were lined with paintings, drawings, sketches, ceramics, photography, poetry and more to shine a spotlight on local talent. The middle school ran a show of its own on the other end of the campus.https://www.advisers.com/

The high school show and other arts events held on Tuesday were organized by art teacher Christina Wallace.

After holding the induction ceremony for the high school’s National Art Honor Society, an art show was held in the school’s library and lobby, with works by both English and art classes on display.

“We are celebrating all our artists who are currently taking courses,” Wallace said. “And we also have artwork displayed alongside the poems that were written by the English classes. We had the photography students take photos, hand them over to the English department, and then students responded to them with poetry.”

Visitors check out the artwork on display at the annual RCS High School art show. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

The works of nearly 200 RCS students were on display at the high school.

“I think it’s really amazing. These kids come in every day and they work 30 to 40 minutes and you can see they are working really hard,” Wallace said. “You don’t know where it’s going, but in the end you sit back and it’s breathtaking.”

Art teacher Amber Simmons is in her first year of teaching in the district and said there is a broad depth of artistic talent among the students.

“This district has some amazingly talented artists, and being able to come in this year and see how hard they work and how proud they are of their artwork is amazing,” Simmons said.

RCS freshman Abbagail Givens said her artwork is often inspired by her own emotions. She pointed to her mixed media piece that was on display.

“It was a ‘choice’ project — we got to choose what type of project we wanted to do,” Givens said. “I used watercolors, acrylics, oil pastels and colored pencils.”

Her mother, Lunelle Givens, beamed as she looked at her daughter’s work.

“I am very proud. She is very artistic and she loves it,” Givens said. “She has real talent.”

A display of works by senior Hannah VanDerzee, a student in the Advanced Placement: 2D Art and Design class. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Mom Brenda Pagan also gazed with pride at her daughter’s work. Sophomore Casiana Pagan created a piece called “Recording Gold,” which was based on a song by one of her favorite bands.

“I love seeing her artwork,” Brenda Pagan said. “She has been doing arts and crafts since she was little but she just started doing art this year at school, other than normal elementary school art. This year she actually joined an art class and she is also in the art club and ceramic club.”

For visitors to the art show, seeing local talent on display was inspirational.

“It is awesome, it’s wonderful,” said Ted Smith. “It’s always great to see these kids explore their creativity.”

Youngsters check out artwork by RCS student Lanija Williams. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

The group RCS Friends of the Arts had a table selling merchandise and creating awareness of all the arts have to offer in the school district. This was a big year for the growing advocacy group.

“I am so excited that this is the first year we were able to give two private lesson scholarships at the middle school for students who want to take private lessons,” said Donna Hommel, president of RCS Friends of the Arts. “We give two scholarships away and we have four scholarships this year for seniors. I am beside-myself excited because we had enough money that we were able to increase the amount that we would normally give, and we were able to give a runner-up for one of the scholarships.”

“It’s because of the families in the district that come and buy our merchandise and show up for us,” Hommel continued. “I am so excited that we can give that money back to the students.”

Families and friends saw talent on display at the high school’s art show. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RCS Friends of the Arts volunteer Ashley Chateauneuf said seeing the students’ work on display was gratifying.

“I’ve seen a lot of these kids grow up and you get to see their artistic value bloom from when they were in middle school all the way up to high school,” Chateauneuf said. “They find their niche in art and explore who they are. It’s fantastic to watch them grow internally and externally.”

A piece by Sandra Guzman-Ortiz in the RCS High School art show. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media
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