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Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

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Student artists recognized at Tim Murphy Art Gallery high school art show opening night Thursday, Dec. 7.

The show featured art from seniors Emma Clement and AJ Lauer and junior Kennedy Goertz
By Hailey Perrin

The school’s top artistic talent is being recognized through Dec. 30 in the Tim Murphy Art Gallery located in Merriam. The opening night of the show and the presentation of awards occurred Thursday, Dec. 7. The exhibit, created to showcase high school artists from all over Kansas, will feature four pieces from the school, including a 2D piece by senior AJ Lauer, a 3D piece made by junior Kennedy Goertz and two 2D pieces from senior Emma Clement. 

The show’s judge, an anonymous professional artist, considered color/values, technique, form and presentation to select the pieces to be featured in the show. In addition to displaying the pieces, the show also awards prizes for the top three works in each category: photography, 2D art, 3D art and digital art. The show is highly competitive, according to art teacher Jodi Ellis, who has instructed many of the students whose work has been featured in the past.

By Eva Hernandez

“Last year they had about 1,300 entries and they selected about 100 pieces,” Ellis said. “I think they’re just looking for a good array of subject matter and medium. I do think that more than just technique, they are looking for that creativity and that voice.”

Ellis believes that part of the students’ voice being reflected is how they express ideas about the world. 

“Something that’s original and you can tell it’s their voice,” Ellis said. “They’re communicating something about themselves to the world around them. Students who really develop [and] refine their ideas and go back and try to push themselves to better create those ideas are the ones that I feel like their artwork consistently shows that development in that depth.” 

The process for making an award-winning piece varies by artist. For Goertz, creating the sculpture was an evolving process, but was inspired by one central idea.

By Eva Hernandez

“She looks like a tree and her hair’s like leaves, it’s kind of like how people have started to disconnect from the nature around them,” Goertz said. “I initially wasn’t going to make the bark on her face, but I realized that there needed to be some kind of contrast. For the next four days or so, I just added stuff over and over again, my mind was always changing. The picture was way different than what she ended up looking like.” 

Lauer drew inspiration from a real life example and kept the process simple, starting with sketches and then worked from there.

“Seeing a guy walk through the forest was the original inspiration,” Lauer said, “I sketched out the pencil drawing and then I painted and then I put on some Sharpie on top of it.” 

Ellis believes the show is a fun opportunity to see what art students have been creating.

“[To] go and see what it is that students are doing [or] they’re not doing because it’s just going to be amazing artwork that’s really fun to view,” Ellis said. 

By Eva Hernandez

According to art teacher Erica Matyak, who worked with Goertz and Lauer on their pieces, the exhibit is a good opportunity for the students to be recognized for their work.

“I think it is really exciting,” Matyak said. “It gives the students recognition for all of their hard work. It kind of shows them what they could possibly do with their artwork in the future.”

Being featured is a bittersweet moment for Goertz, reminding her of when her art was featured as a young child in a similar event.

“[Being featured] was a weird feeling because I got sent to an art show at one point when I was younger so it kind of made me sad, because that’s not what I want to do anymore,” Goertz said. “I’m growing up, it’s kind of sad. Now I want to be a doctor and I always wanted to be an artist as a kid.”

Similarly, Lauer has found that though art is important in his life, he spends less time on it than he has in past years.

“Usually I do my pieces fast, I have a fast turnaround,” Lauer said. “I like to work through them. I usually take around three hours max. During my sophomore and junior year, I spent about four hours every day. But now during my senior year, I’ve dialed it back a bit. I still enjoy it, but I enjoy math a bit more.”

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About the Contributors
Maddie Martin, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Maddie Martin’s first year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to writing and taking pictures for the JagWire. She is on the golf team and is a part of Relay for Life. Outside of school she volunteers with National Charity League. She spends her free time hanging out with her friends and family, listening to music and watching sports.  
Anna Zwahlen, JagWire editor-in-chief, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief
This is senior Anna Zwahlen’s second year on the JagWire newspaper staff. She is thrilled to be one of the new Editors In Chief of the JagWire and Mill Valley News. Anna is also involved in the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Scholars Bowl, GSA and is co-president for Youth for Refugees. Outside of school, Anna loves to read and spend time with her friends, as well as listen to new music and watch her favorite TV shows and movies between her work as a barista.
Eva Hernandez, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Eva Hernandez’s first year on the JagWire staff. This year she will be learning the roles of a writer and photographer. Eva enjoys longboarding around her neighborhood and likes to play sports like flag football, soccer and basketball and she loves to bake for her friends. Eva also enjoys watching scary movies and shopping for shoes. Eva is involved in Relay for Life and would like to join more things as the school year goes on.
Hailey Perrin, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is junior Hailey Perrin’s second year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to another year of designing and some more exploring in writing and photography. Outside of the newspaper room she enjoys traveling, anything creative and photography. If she is not doing one of those things she will be with her friends having the time of her life.

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