Sandburg students get taste of professional art world
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent January 19, 2014 9:36PM
Taylor Lach, 18, a senior at Sandburg High School, stands next to her color pencil and marker artwork "Pirate Still Life" on Sunday at the McCord Gallery and Cultural Center in Palos Park. | Ginger Brashinger~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 21, 2014 6:30AM
Art students from Sandburg High School moved one step closer to the world of professional art Sunday at an artists’ reception held at McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, 9602 W. Creek Road, Palos Park.
The artwork of 15 advanced placement junior and senior art students will be featured on the gallery’s walls through Feb. 3.
For most of the students, it was a first taste of the art world beyond school walls, said AP Studio Art teacher Mary Michaelson, aka “Miss Mike.”
“For most of these juniors and seniors, this is the first time their work is being shown in a bona fide gallery,” Michaelson said.
Scott Cleary, 17, of Orland Park, said the gallery experience has been even “more exciting” than showing his work at Sandburg’s annual art show, and it came at a good time in his artistic development.
“This is the first year I’ve felt proud to display my work,” Cleary said. “I’ve improved my skill enough now that I’m in AP Studio Art. I feel that I’ve gotten to a point here I have a skill that I’m proud to display and have criticized.”
Two of Cleary’s pieces reflect “burning issues” in the 1960s and 1970s, which, he said, belie his parents’ generation’s description of the era as “a simpler time.”
“I consider it the craziest time period,” Cleary said.
Cleary’s pencil and color marker work, “The Times They Are a Changing,” depicts a Time magazine cover showing the space race of the 1960s while other issues Cleary considers “more important” are attempting to “burn through” the cover.
Some of the art students used more personal themes to express themselves.
Alaina Schneider, 18, of Orland Park, said her “smoke” theme “is questioning why people think smoking looks so cool.”
Schneider said her own interest in smoke is purely artistic.
“I just like the shape of it,” she said.
Orland Park senior Kelsey Kretzer, 18, said creating artwork has side benefits for her.
“I have a very chaotic life,” Kretzer said. “Art is a way for me to relax.”
If showing their artwork to the public is rewarding to the young artists, then selling it may be even more so.
Frankfort resident Bill Gouwens, 75, was visiting the gallery at the invitation of his daughter-in-law, Dori Gouwens, of Berwyn, whose artwork also was on display.
Sandburg student Sammi Milwit’s pencil drawing of pelvic bones connected to the neck of a guitar, titled “Musical Bones,” caught Bill Gouwens’ eye.
Gouwens said his inquiry about purchasing the piece is a serious one and he will find a place in his home for the piece if it’s for sale.
“It’s very unusual,” Gouwens said. “I just thought it was so cool that they joined (bones and guitar) together.”
Mary Ann Nowak, McCord Gallery assistant director, said the experience is a positive one for the young artists.
“I think it instills a future for these kids. It exposes them to galleries and receptions,” Nowak said. “It’s fun to see the expressions on their faces when they come in and see their artwork on the wall.”
For more information, call (708) 671-0648 or visit www.mccordgal