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‘Artastic’ artistry awaits art admirers

Student art showcase on display through Jan. 10

Byron Center High School’s concert orchestra, conducted by teacher Madison Peters, rehearses ‘Libratango,’ composed by Astor Piazzolla

Byron Center — Walking through the Van Singel Fine Arts Center, the walls are covered in artwork and instrumental music is heard dancing through the doors of the auditorium. 

Art teachers from every BCPS building selected work to contribute to the annual district-wide Visual Arts Showcase. The student art will be on display for the public in the Gainey Gallery until Jan. 10. The gallery is open Wednesdays through Fridays, 12-5 p.m.

This one showcase tells several stories. 

‘We’re All a Little Different’

West Middle School seventh-grader Collette Horvath experimented with digital art software on a tablet to create her finished product for the showcase.

“My piece is a girl who looks like a stained glass window, with different skin and hair colors,” she said. 

Part of art teacher Janine Campbell’s “You, Me and Everyone” unit in class, Collette said she used the layering tool on her tablet to create each piece of the mosaic-looking portrait. 

“Finding authentic skin tones was a challenge,” she said about using the color options within the program. “We’re all different and that’s okay.”

When she first saw her finished piece hanging in the showcase, Collette said she felt a little scared but really proud.

‘Anyone Can Be an Artist’

Seventh-grader Faruk Pilipovic utilized the art of simple sketching to create a still life portrait of his shoe

For his Showcase piece, West Middle School seventh-grader Faruk Pilipovic utilized the art of simple sketching to create a still life portrait of his shoe. 

Inspired by one of his former art teachers, Faruk said when he gets stuck on what to draw, he finds inspiration from objects around him.

“I decided to make something simple and easy that would look good,” he said. “I took off my Croc, started sketching and I guess it turned out pretty good because it made it in the show.”

Challenged by his shaky hands while he drew, Faruk said he used it to his advantage to sketch the details of his shoe repeatedly before cleaning up the lines with an eraser. 

“You don’t need your art to look good to be the best; not everything needs to be perfect,” he said. “Anyone can be an artist as long as they try.” 

A Mosaic of Musicians 

The Artastic concert and fundraiser in December was also part of the showcase and featured Byron Center High School band, orchestra and choir musicians. Ensembles were set up throughout the auditorium and in the aisles for people to watch, in addition to the strolling art exhibit in the main lobby.

Freshman bassist Alyssa Nyenhuis rehearses with the Byron Center High School concert orchestra

“It’s a huge jumble of every single part of the arts we offer, so no one is left out,” junior cellist and choir soloist Gianna Desgranges said. “When I was a freshman, I heard a senior sing a solo at Artastic and thought, ‘Whoa, I want to do that.’”

Senior violinist Sarahi Huerta said, “Artastic is a great moment for everyone to get together and makes me feel connected, safe and comfortable to perform.” 

Going into their first Artastic, freshmen cellist Brianna Jenkins and bassist Alyssa Nyenhus said they were excited to participate in a “culmination of creativity.”

“It amazes me, all the effort this must take to coordinate,” Brianna said. 

Alyssa added: “It’s a unique experience and gives us a chance to get to know other people in the arts and see our friends perform.”

Read more from Byron Center: 
Painting with a personal touch
Student art gets gallery showing

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”

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