CINCINNATI -- Art students from the city’s Catholic high schools will have the opportunity to showcase their work beyond their classrooms at the inaugural Catholic School Art Exhibition opening this weekend.
Entitled “Imagine Our Spirit,” the exhibition displays 40 pieces of artwork created by students from nine area schools and runs from March 11 through April 8 at The Flats Art Gallery in East Price Hill.
Four art teachers from Elder High School in West Price Hill and Mother of Mercy High School in Westwood began collaborating last year to bring together the artwork of students from various Catholic high schools in Hamilton County for an exhibition that would take place outside of the walls of their schools — and without prohibitive entrance fees.
“Art is such a personal thing. We as teachers and students in the art classes get to see it, but outside of that there are very few opportunities to really bring the work to the community,” said David Buetsche, Elder art teacher and one of the event’s organizers. “We felt strongly about not just the work that our students were doing at a Catholic high school, but some of the issues and subject matter they were addressing brought up great questions that we felt would not only benefit our art classes, but also our community.”
Catholic high schools throughout Hamilton County were invited to participate and nine schools submitted students’ work. In addition to Elder and Mercy high schools, Ursuline, La Salle, McAuley, Mount Notre Dame, Roger Bacon, Seton and St. Ursula will be represented.
Annie Morman, an Ursuline senior and Loveland resident, has a piece included in the exhibition and she said she’s excited to see area Catholic schools recognizing the importance of the fine arts.
“Opportunities like this have changed my own opinions of my art, and it’s making me realize that I really do have a talent that is not just something my mom thinks is good,” Morman said. “To hear from an outside source that doesn’t know me that they appreciate my artwork, that gives me confidence to maybe pursue it further after high school.”
More than 80 pieces of visual art were submitted. Thirty-one creations — at least two from each school — were selected for display by a jury from the gallery, which donated their time and the exhibit space. Each art teacher also selected one “teacher’s choice” piece from one of their students, Buetsche said.
Awards totaling $1,000 in school scholarships will be given at the March 12 opening event to the best of show, first runner up, second runner up and “people’s choice” winner, which will be selected during the opening reception. The award money was donated by KB Partners LLC. Additional honorable mention prizes will be awarded in the form of gift cards from Plaza Art Materials.
The Elder and Mercy art teachers hope to hold the exhibition annually, while also adding additional elements to include all art students with perhaps a traveling collaborative art project, said Murray Dwertman, a Mother of Mercy art teacher.
“We hope in future years there might be a collaborative art experience or art product corresponding with the show as well,” Dwertman said. “There is the hope that we gather a wider range of students and it touches into the classroom a little bit deeper in coming years.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "Imagine Our Spirit," Catholic School Art Exhibition
WHEN: March 11-April 8, with an opening reception 1-4 p.m. March 12
WHERE: The Flats Art Gallery, 3028 Price Ave., in the Incline Arts District in East Price Hill
MORE INFO: Regular gallery hours are 2-7 p.m. Tuesday and 1-7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday