Student art on display

Published 8:03 am Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Varnado Store Museum has been drawing a younger-than-normal crowd this month, as parish kids and their families stop in to check out the student art show.

The show went up April 5 at the Franklinton museum, and about 80 people were on hand for the preview that Friday evening. The next morning, Director Terry Seal had a group of youngsters and their parents waiting by the door for the museum to open.

Intended as an opportunity for students to display their work in addition to the Washington Parish Fair and a way to help school art programs, the idea for the show was suggested by board member Judie Dauser, director of the project.

“We also thought it would be a good way to get young people into the museum and to get young people interested in historic things,” Seal said.

The search for entries began in January, with those at the museum reaching out to local art teachers and parish schools. Students were instructed to create a piece reflecting the time period of 1897 to 1950. The schools and teachers were cooperative, and the students were excited about participating, Seal said.

Entries poured in from all over the parish, most of them falling within the contest guidelines on the time period. A total of 258 were received, and all are on display at the museum.

The talent demonstrated by the students is remarkable, Seal said.

“I’m just pleased as I can be with the response and the quality of the artwork,” Seal said.

A variety of subjects and techniques are expressed through the artwork, Dauser said.

“It’s really something to come and see,” she said.

An out-of-parish judge not affiliated with the museum will be coming to judge the pieces, and cash prizes will be awarded. First, second and third prizes will be awarded in three categories, elementary, grades one through five; junior, grades six through eight; and senior, grades nine though 12. First prize winners will receive $50, second, $25, and third, $15

The first place winner in each category will also bring $100 back to his or her school’s art program, since art funding has been cut drastically in schools, Dauser said.

A people’s choice winner will be recognized as well. The winner will receive a monetary prize and will bring money back to his or her school’s art program.

Throughout the month of April, visitors can select their favorite piece of art and write down their choice. Votes can be placed in a container near the entrance. People get one vote per trip to the museum.

“If they want to come in every day that we’re open and vote, that’s great — but once per visit,” Seal said.

The museum is open each Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and each Sunday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

The board is still a little short of its goal on funding for the student awards and money for winners’ school art programs, Dauser said. Anyone interested in sponsoring the show can call her at 839-5195. Sponsorship levels are gold, $100; silver, $50; and bronze; $25, and all money will be used specifically for this project.

The annual Spring Street Fair has been set for Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the streets around the museum.

Voting can take place through noon that day, Dauser said. The winners will be announced and prizes will be handed out at 2 p.m.