Reva Toadvine said the colors drew her in to the painting she made a replica of for the High School Artist Program, but the overall experience was way beyond colorful for her. A junior at Boyle County High School, Toadvine said this is the first time she’s tried her hand at painting and putting it up for all to see.
“It’s the first – maybe only, for some of us — time we’ll see our paintings on sale like this. It’s nice to see people admire them …” Toadvine trailed off for a moment, a huge smile spreading across her face. “… and like them. It’s nice to see people like them.”
More than 600 visitors strolled into the Community Arts Center Thursday evening as a part of the project, which is put on by Ephraim McDowell Health. It began as an initiative to enhance the healing environment at the hospital — the paintings hang in the hallways there until next year’s project goes up, then those who won bids Thursday can retrieve their new works of art.
Vicki Darnell, president and CEO of EMH, spoke to the crowd explaining how the initiative has worked its way into more of a self-esteem focus for youth. She said when the students are taught how to start their painting project from the ground up — starting with building their canvases, stretching the material across wood — they take pride in their work.
Darnell thanked everyone for supporting the kids and bidding on their work.
Jane Dewey, director of arts education with Boyle Schools, also encouraged visitors to travel upstairs and check out the items submitted into the youth art fair. Several sculptures, baskets, bracelets, drawing and paintings pulled participants in to get a closer view. Elementary kids skipped up and down the hallway as others stopped them to congratulate them on their wares.
“This is something far more than just painting to them,” said Audrey Powell as she looked into the crowd.
As executive director of Community Service with EMH, Powell has seen the project grow over the past four years. “It’s definitely something we want to be able to continue doing. Look at this!”
A sculpture in the upstairs hallway made completely of running shoes in the form of a woman running drew many in. BCHS student Elena Raffay mastered the piece, and many, many compliments about it over the evening.
“It gives us something to do, as opposed to doing — bad stuff …” said Justin Johnson, a student at Bruce Hall Day Treatment with Boyle County Schools. “I didn’t think I’d be good at it.”
Johnson stood by his painting at the front door very proudly. He painted an incredibly animated replica of “Mike” from the movie Monsters, Inc.
Madeline Salinas, a senior with BCHS, painted an incredible replica of a Degat ballerina piece, which several bid on throughout the evening. Upstairs in the Lockhart Gallery, she discussed her display with visitors about intellectual property in apparel design, something she’s very interested in which considers the legal aspect of art designs in clothing and other items.
“I love art, and I love to know more about the legal aspect of it — I thought others would, too,” said Salinas. “I think art is something that helps kids, in lots of ways.”
Powell said Thursday’s event set new record in the number of paintings on display and students participating. Records were also set in the number of individuals who visited and the amount brought in by bids. She said an estimated $3,600 was raised from the auction — which will be put back into the project to continue buying supplies for next year’s students.
“It was a great evening with lots of community support,” Powell said.
IF YOU GO
The High School Artist Project paintings will be moved to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center to reside for the next year.
SO YOU KNOW
A new Starry Night Studio has been added to this month’s repertoire. “Put a Bird on It” is inspired by the show “Portlandia,” and is an eclectic — some say even mysterious — painting several are looking forward to. The studio is 7-9 p.m. May 15. Reserve a spot at the studio by visiting communityartscenter.net or calling (859) 236-4054.
Check next week’s story about our May through July exhibit with Brenda Plaster and Bob Gibson. They will join forces to present “Carvings and Quilts” in the upstairs Farmers National Bank Gallery at CAC. The exhibit is an intriguing display of traditional quilts and delicately designed carvings by the long-time married couple.