Hammers echoed over sounds of excited chatter.
Twenty students and three visual arts teachers from Stephen T. Badin High School in Hamilton took over the Community Gallery at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts Friday morning, April 29, hanging their new exhibition, It Started with an Idea.
“Did you bring the cupcakes,” one student asked Badin fine arts department chair and visual arts teacher Sarah Daniels. A few heads turned with anticipation of an early treat. Daniels nodded as another student dug through a stack of frames, opened a box and distributed a whole series of watercolor cupcakes inspired by a class trip to Luke’s Custom Cakes on High Street after an earlier visit to the Fitton Center.
“I think it’s great for them to see not only their best or strongest works all together, but also to learn how to organize pieces for an exhibition,” Daniels said. “It’s really important that they realize art is recognized and received in many different ways, by not only our students and faculty, but by the whole community.
“The Fitton has been so good about supporting artists, especially young artists.”
One of them is Badin senior Alexis Bynum, who has half a dozen works of art in the new show. She took Fitton Center art classes at age 10 and now plans to study art education at Kent State University with an eye toward following in Daniels’ footsteps as an art teacher.
“You can express how you’re feeling with pictures and drawing instead of with words,” Bynum said.
And the gallery experience?
“We all work so hard through the year, it’s just kind of a time to show off all the work,” she said. “Your classmates, your parents, your friends, the community, it’s good to have so many people see your work and enjoy it.”
Classmate Emma Giuliano agreed.
“It’s one thing to have (your art) at school, but it’s big to have it in an actual gallery,” she said. “In my art classes next year, I’ll take a lot of what we learned here with me.”
Giuliano plans to join Bynam at Kent, where she will study interior design.
Daniels said several other graduating seniors will study art-related subjects in college, including three going into graphic design and communications, one into fashion design and another into art therapy.
Junior Emily Snellgrove contributed 10 pieces to the exhibition. Among her favorites are her charcoal portraits.
“I like making things that express how I’m feeling and just being in class with my friends,” she said. “I just enjoy making art no matter what it is. It’s relaxing. It’s good to see the progression of how people make their art. You can see the difference over time.”
It Started with an Idea features 406 pieces of original work created by 132 artists. Most (348 pieces) are two dimensional, but a subset of the show offers 58 ceramic pieces.
All of them capture the student creative process from inception to completion.
“This a great opportunity for building that sense of community that art can give,” Daniels said. “It helps show them that anything can be a subject of art.”
The It Started with an Idea exhibition runs during Fitton Center regular hours – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday - May 2 to 12. No tickets or reservations required. The Community Gallery also is open during scheduled weekend events.
“We are excited to continue this annual partnership of a combined visual art and music celebration with Badin,” said Fitton Center Director of Exhibitions Cathy Mayhugh. “The students bring immense energy and creativity to the event, and we enjoy collaborating with them to present their talents in a professional setting.
“Badin artists, from beginning to advanced levels, are on a constant journey of self-discovery. Their ideas are as diverse as their techniques, but they have one thing in common - they are passionate about their work. We are passionate about supporting them in that work and sharing it with the community.”