CCHS artists on display at CCAC in April

By James Grob,

Charles City art teachers Tia McInroy and Brian Bohlen have been spending a lot of time at the Charles City Arts Center this week, getting everything just right.

The two have been framing, matting and displaying various pieces of their students’ artwork in preparation for the featured exhibit for the month of April.

“We don’t want to just come in and stick stuff up on the wall,” Bohlen said. “We want it to look professional. We want it to look like it is a real gallery show.”

The student art will be exhibited at the CCAC for the month of April — which is National Youth Art Month. There will be a reception for the students starting at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Arts Center. Patrons can view the art, meet and talk with the students and enjoy some refreshments.

The show has been going on in Charles City for well over 30 years.

“It’s a very big tradition here,” said CCAC Director Jacqueline Davidson. “It’s been going on so long that the parents of the students may have had their artwork in here. That’s pretty cool.”

The artists are in grades 9-12, and McInroy explained that the work includes quite a few different disciplines — drawings, paintings, pottery, photography and more.

“These are dedicated kids,” McInroy said. “We showcase the kids who put the hard work and effort in.”

Bohlen said the artwork is a sampling of some of the best work through the school year.

“Kids get excited about this and they work toward this art show for the entire year,” he said. “I can remember Tia and I having our artwork in this show, when Art Strong was our teacher in high school.”

Davidson said there are usually a few hundred people who attend.

“Everyone is invited, and all the artists will be invited. We welcome them with open arms,” she said, and added that refreshments will include tea, punch, brownies and other snacks.

McInroy said that the student-artists make a connection with the community.

“So many people come to this from the community,” she said. “It’s a great chance for the kids to talk to community members, former teachers, artists, and just get some feedback about their work.”

Bohlen said he likes that the event is handled as if it were a professional art show.

“We get a real gallery to display our work, and it’s always been a quality art show,” he said. “It’s a beautiful space, and not all high school programs get a space like this to dedicate to their kids’ artwork for an entire month. It’s pretty special to have a place like this.”