Santiago Baltazar was only 4 years old when he emigrated from his homeland of Guatemala to the U.S. in 2001. He decided in his high school senior year that it was time to depict on canvas where he came from and the hope America represents to him. Santiago went out on an artistic limb and painted in oils for the first time.
“I actually surprised myself,” he said, explaining the image of desert, river and sunrise represents his journey from Central America to the U.S. “I can do more than what I think I can.”
Santiago was among 15 Godwin Heights High School students who recently showcased and sold their masterpieces at the seventh annual Senior Art Portfolio Show and Art Scholarship Initiative.
On display in the high school commons area was an assorted mix of ceramic, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, charcoal, pastel, pen and ink, and 3-D art and calligraphy students created throughout the school year.
In the cafeteria, artwork was available for a donation, with the goal of establishing with the donations a $100 college scholarship for students who will pursue an art degree.
Kaylee Peterson’s career plans include studying to become a veterinarian tech and dog trainer, or possibly a veterinarian.
She knows her classes in college will test her abilities and said she is now she is up to the challenge. Scattered on her display table was the art she created that translates into one word in her life: confidence.
Whether a ceramic tiger’s head, an acrylic self-portrait, watercolor renditions of tulips or a tempera painting of dogs, her favorite creatures, Kaylee discovered she has the capacity to not let her impatience get in the way of finishing a project.
“I have a lot more skill than I thought I did. I have a lot more confidence than I thought I did,” she said. “Instead of getting frustrated that a project wasn’t getting done, I’ve learned to think of the end result.”
Hemi Truax found a symbolic way to evoke the memory of her great-grandfather and his dog when she visited his lakeside cottage.
In her painting, two cattails with eyes represent her great-grandfather’s dog, who made it a habit of following people with his eyes. The dragonfly represents her great-grandfather.
It’s a painting that’s only birthed through contemplation, Hemi said.
“I don’t think of things until I pull out a piece of paper and draw what’s going on in my head,” said Hemi, who plans to major in art education at Aquinas College.
Basse said the art show is an opportunity for students to be more reflective.
“The art show is a fruition of their journey in how to handle criticisms and critiques of themselves,” Basse said. “They gained a lot of confidence in what they want to do next.”