By SEAN ROWLEY
Inside the old Cort Mall on Tuesday, people dropped in to appreciate paintings and drawings, and perhaps get a glance at an example of the early work of a celebrated artist.
The 20th Cherokee County Student Art Show featured creations by students of different ages at different schools, and was attended by more than 100 young artists, their families, teachers and administrators.
“In January we sent out notices to all the schools,” said Libby Osburn, director of gifted and talented programs at Tahlequah Public Schools, and director of the show. “There is a coordinator at each site. All the classrooms at the schools compete, and in each homeroom class, first- and second-place winners are chosen. Those winners are entered in the show to compete with all schools in Cherokee County.”
During her address to the crowd, Osburn expressed gratitude to the Cherokee Arts Center and its Spider Gallery, in which the show was held. She also mentioned the show’s topic.
“The theme for this year’s art show is ‘Through a Window,’” she said. “If you notice some windows in the art, that is probably the reason why.”
Each category in the show included two grades, running from kindergarten and prekindergarten to 11th and 12th grade. Awards for first, second third and two honorable mentions were given in each category.
Top honor was Best in Show, which went to Madilyn Hatfield, a fifth-grader at Tahlequah Middle School.
“My dad is a really good artist,” she said. “I really like art and I wanted to follow him.”
Hatfield’s untitled work depicts a dark tree with gnarled branches, silhouetted by the moon.
“It’s night in the background, and it gets darker as it goes out from the moon,” she said. “In front of the tree is a cobbled wall, and there is a window in the tree.”
Two yellow eyes peer from the lower left hand corner of the window.
“The eyes can belong to whatever the person looking at it wants,” she said.
The painting is acrylic. Some of the tree’s branches actually form spirals.
“I kind of like scary things,” Hatfield said.
Ellie Vega, a TPS teacher, served as the show’s assistant director.
“We wanted to hold the show in a place where the kids could feel like artists,” Vega said. “Their work was displayed alongside working artists, and we want them to realize that their art can take them somewhere.”
Medals and prizes for the winners were donated by The Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah. Participating schools included Tahlequah Public Schools, Hulbert Public Schools, Sequoyah High School, Briggs School and Shiloh Christian Academy.
“I really appreciate the support of the communities,” Vega said. “The kids were excited - and I knew they would be - to see their work hanging in a real gallery. I think we can keep this momentum going and make the show even bigger and better next year.”
The display is open Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday from 8-11 a.m.
Go to www.tahlequahdailypress.com to see a list of winners in the Cherokee County Student Art Show.