Opening of Library Student Art Gallery – “Gallery 114”

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Reporter Sabrina Black
Photographer Ben Makhlouf

You may have seen the numerous announcements adorning the school walls—but do you have time to inspect them? In case you have not, they proclaim that this Thursday, October 6th, the long-awaited Grand Opening of Gallery 114 will arrive. The art teachers and students of the National Art Honor Society have been preparing for this day for over a year—and they have been busy. They visited an art gallery, where they took photographs and talked to the owner.

The goal with this work is not only to showcase artwork, but to be “as close to a real art gallery as possible. I think they [the students] will get the experience, so after they graduate, it might not be so scary to try to get their art into galleries,” stated Jessica Belich, the art teacher who applied for the Educational Foundation of Wauwatosa (EFW) grant for the project.

Principal Frank Calarco agreed that the gallery is a “practical way of teaching real life skills—not just about art, but how to manage people.” He stated that he only gave a little financial support, crediting Belich and Selena Marris, another West art teacher, with the rest.

Gallery 114 accepts not only traditional art forms, but others, as well, including short stories, poetry, quilts, and yearbook layouts, to name only a few. In fact, any West student may apply to show work there, even those who have never taken an art class here. “Many applications are being picked up.” Belich remarked. “I really hope it’s not only students in art classes trying for it.”

The National Art Honor Society students will use rubrics to rate work. The highest-ranking pieces will be displayed in the gallery. In addition, there will be various themes to the art displays throughout the year—some examples being: “The Art of the Prairie,” “Myths, Fables, and Tales,” and “Identity: Who am I?”

At 5:30 on Thursday, October 6th, the grand opening will begin. The gallery is located in the Thomas E. Steiner Technology Center in the school library. Belich envisaged that it would begin with a “red ribbon blocking the hallway when people arrive. Ten minutes or so in, the National Art Honor Society members will go behind the ribbon and have a ribbon-cutting ceremony.” The art at the opening will be only pieces by National Art Honor Society members.

Belich hopes that it will be an exciting occasion, complete with balloons and other decorations. As for the turn-out, she expects it to be reasonably busy. “Students will invite friends and family.” She predicted. “Our art shows usually have a fairly big turnout.” That, however, is up to you. Will you be there to support the arts?