By Julianne Homokay -Special to The Alpine Mountaineer
“Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end of the day,” wrote Winston Churchill, in his book Painting as a Pastime.
This is the quote the Mountain Arts Network (MAN) included in their newsletter as a promotion for the eighth annual student art show and reception, held on Saturday, April 29, at the Mountain Arts Gallery in Lake Arrowhead Village. The students’ work will be showcased at the gallery for the entire month of May.
Many of the students on hand take exactly this approach to their art. Said young artist Gabriel Shorey, “I just enjoy doing it.” Jack Formby added, “I do it on the side for fun. A lot of it was influenced by my teacher.”
Jason Stehmeier is the teacher to whom Formby was referring, who runs the art program at Rim of the World High School and primarily teaches ceramics. “We’re such a small school, but we’re heavily impacted in the arts,” he says, which is a testament to the quality of work on display in the student show, and also to how he feels his students stand up against schools with much larger or more prestigious programs.
“We’re thankful to the Mountain Arts Network; the kids are super excited.” His wife, Morgan, joins him on the Rim High art faculty, teaching drawing and painting.
Representatives from the Mountain Arts Network were on hand and proud to be supporting the young artists. The gentleman who coordinates with Rim High joked that his identity needed to be protected, so we’ll call him “James.” James said the student participation in the show this year was lighter than usual, but “we just got through that blizzard. I’m just happy we did it. I give these kids credit for following through.”
Board member David Ficke – who was a high school educator for 37 years and is still a wildlife, landscape and sports photographer – said, “We feel that it’s important to support our community. To give back.”
Among the many offerings the MAN provides to the community is the student art show and its attendant awards, one for each category: Ceramics, Mixed Media (drawing, painting, etc.) and Photography. In addition, they award a Best of Show.
On Saturday, the support for the students was evident, as the gallery right on the lake in Lake Arrowhead Village was packed, and the atmosphere was festive.
Stehmeier referred to the event as the students’ “last little hurrah before school gets out.”
The Mountain Arts Gallery is located at 28200 State Highway 189, Lower Suite Bldg E-120, Lake Arrowhead, CA, 92352. For more information call (909)-744-8450. Most of the student works are for sale, and 100 percent of those sales go to the young artists.