Dexter student artists participate in the Michigan Art Education Association Region 3 Art Show

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A piece by Abby Fillion, DHS 10th Grade, is an Advanced Drawing & Painting Watercolor Landscape. image courtesy of DHS

Art plays an important part in Dexter Community Schools. This is very evident in the selections of art created by Dexter students for the Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA) Region 3 Art Show.

The show will include work from students (K-12) throughout the area displayed and judged in grade levels (Elementary, Middle and High School). The show this year will be housed at the Washtenaw Community College Art Gallery located in the Morris Lawrence Building from Tuesday, January 17th - Friday February 24th with a Reception on February 24th from 5 to 7pm for artists and their families.

Student art will be judged at this show and chosen works will move onto a State Adjudication and Show that will be later this spring. Dexter schools is considered Region 3, and teachers in the Region that are a part of the Michigan Art Education Association can select up to five works of art to enter.

The DCS Art Teachers participating this year are: Krickett Chamberlain and Roger Sprau at Dexter High School, Amara Karapas at Mill Creek Middle School, Jane Montero at Creekside Intermediate School, Valerie Eninsche at Wylie Elementary School and Kristin Walters at Anchor Elementary School.

“This year the student artwork has been absolutely exceptional,” Chamberlain said. “The vetting process of narrowing down five pieces to enter into the Region 3 MAEA Art Show was very difficult. In the end the five works that I chose showcase a little bit of each of the different classes that I teach at DHS and I also tried to gather work from almost every grade level. It always amazes me that I get almost professional level work from 9th through 12th grade students. Dexter art students are so incredibly creative and talented and it is such a pleasure to help foster that creativity and talent.”

Sprau said of the high school artwork, “Phenomenal! I really enjoy witnessing each student develop their own unique idea and putting their plan into action. Each result speaks to their thoughts, interests and personality. Sometimes students come up with ways to enhance an art assignment for future artists. I am proud of the students and their artworks in the MAEA Region 3 show because it helps inspire future art students.”

A piece by Teagan Luken of Dexter High School. image courtesy of DHS

Over at Creekside, Montero said of the work, “Every year I continue to be impressed with the creativity shown by our students in Dexter. I find the selection process very difficult because we have so many talented young artists! The Region 3 show has a limit of only five pieces for Elementary, five for Middle, and five for Secondary per art teacher. However, we will be able to feature many more Dexter students when we hold our annual Dexter ArtWalk in late April and early May.”

“The students selected are dedicated to art and they continue to improve their skills in these early grades,” said Eninsche. “They consistently demonstrate creative problem solving and take the time to use good craftsmanship. It's always hard to choose only five pieces for this show, but these works showcase some of the best of Wylie. The Region 3 show is always an impressive display of the vibrant art education programs we foster here in Southeast Michigan.”

The foundation for this work comes from the place of knowing art is important.

Chamberlain said, “There is so much that goes on in a given day for young people and having Art as an outlet for feelings, emotions and thoughts can be a healthy and safe way for them to express themselves and have an outlet in an otherwise stressful time. Whether we realize it or not, most careers in life require a sense of creativity and a basic understanding or appreciation of art in life can help students be more well rounded, prepared and experienced adults in their future.”

“Art is important because it allows one to express themselves and share their ideas with others,” Sprau said. “It gives the artist an opportunity to experiment, explore and discover new techniques, materials and ideas. Observing art helps people understand different perspectives. Art is a celebration of life!”

DHS freshman Dani Sherman's Digital Photography Smartphone Camera Practice Project. image courtesy of DHS.

From the students’ point of view, a couple of them from Wylie sum up the importance of art quite well.

"It inspires creativity in me when I'm doing art,” said Wylie student Cole Stepanovich. “Also, creativity brings joy. It makes me a smarter person at creating things. Art makes me a special person."

Fellow Wylie student Amelia Jones said, "It calms me down and I like the strokes, and how beautiful art can be. It can show music, laughter, happiness, dreams, and anything you want."

Another part of the regional art show and the importance of art in Dexter is the school district’s participation in the Michigan Art Education Association. Membership in MAEA is a joint membership with the National Art Education Association (NAEA) - the premier professional organization for art educators across the country that provides resources for art educators, webinars, annual conventions, advocacy, and current research regarding the benefits of teaching art K - 12.

Chamberlain and Sprau are Region 3 Liaisons for MAEA, Creekside's Montero is MAEA President Elect this year and Wylie's Eninsche and Anchor's Walters are MAEA's Elementary Level Chairs.

“Dexter has an extremely strong connection to the Michigan Art Education Association and all of our involvement speaks volumes about the high level of quality Dexter poses for its students,” Chamberlain said.

For those interested in visiting the show at WCC, the Morris Lawrence Building is located at 4800 E. Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor.

The group from Wylie: Rayne Newmister, Ms. Valerie Eninsche (holding Cole Stepanovich's piece), Amaliya Khagi, Willem Kraft and Amelia Jones. image courtesy of Wylie Elementary School
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