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Student Artwork on Display at Portsmouth Public Library
Mika Jones Art
During the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center’s annual Artist-in-Residency program, local artist Klaire Smith collaborated with students in Mrs. Kelly Emmons’ Wheelersburg High School art classes to create original works of art for display at the Portsmouth Public Library. The exhibit titled “Love and Light Panes” will be on exhibit until March 21, 2022 during regular library hours. 

Smith began her residency on September 27, 2021 and was with the students daily for two full weeks. Students continued to work on their own until they completed their artwork which is now on display on the main floor of the library. The students’ designs are intended to celebrate the complexity and beauty of the traditional stained glass windows located in the library’s domed ceiling. Students were challenged to create depth and texture using layers of tissue paper applied to canvas while creating designs that were captivating, original, and utilized symmetry. 

The title “Love and Light Panes” makes reference to the library’s stained glass and the community’s love of our public library. “Many of the students’ designs include a heart shape, which is symbolic of love, so it seemed appropriate that the work would be on display during Valentine’s Day,” said Sharee Price, Gifted Services Coordinator at the South Central Ohio ESC and coordinator for the residency.  

A total of 28 pieces were created for display and they can be found in various areas throughout the main floor. “Working with the students was an insightful experience for all of us. While the students learned a new technique I was able to learn more about how I can be the best facilitator of art possible through creating a safe space and being patient with the process," Smith commented about her experiences with the residency. 

The following students’ artworks are included in the exhibit: Noah Alger, Breylan Asche, Alyssa Appling, Elijah Brammer, Chloe Briggs, Payton Brown, Jaclyn Cardenas, Beau Castaneda, Miles Cook, Malachi Foreman, Mandy Griffey, Justin Howard, Noel Johnson, Mika Jones, Onaca Kirkendall, Kylie Marsh, Joshua Miller, Addison Moore, Lillian Osborne, Mikayla Robinson, Amanda Salmons, Tiffany Sexton, Katie Skaggs, Madison Spangenberg, Connor Swingle, and Dylan Wilson. Klaire Smith also included two of her own works in the display.

Sponsors for this program include: Portsmouth Area Arts Council, Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home, Rotary Club of Portsmouth, Scioto Foundation, Shawnee Animal Clinic, SOMC, William & Barbara Burke, Marc Cottle, Myles & Rachel Deacon, and Dr. Robert & Mrs. Chris Knox. 

Wheelersburg art teacher, Emmons, stated “The most interesting and valuable part of this experience for me was watching the students work through the entire creative process from beginning to end while working with a new medium. It was also very beneficial to the students to have interaction with a professional artist from our own community. Overall, I think this was a very successful program.”