Judging the high school art show

April 17, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

2014-04-02 15.53.462014-04-02 15.53.46 Judging

by Barbara Torke 


This last week I had the pleasure of judging the Western Colorado Regional Art Show in Cedaredge. It is open for all western Colorado high school students. Four high schools sent student work, and the number of pieces was around 530. It was one of the hardest shows I haver ever judged. Very fine quality, lots of competition, and class. These kids have class.


It is not an easy job judging shows. I love each piece for a different reason. My favorites vie with knowledge and emotion until I finally make choices. That is all it is, making choices. I’d like to think I have honored the kids who have pushed beyond their and their teacher’s expectations. Another day, another walk around the perimeter, I will probably find other pieces that quicken my heart rate. 


These young people are industrious, enthusiastic, talented, and inspiring. They learn quickly and expand exponentially with each experience. With these kids, our future is in great shape. I spoke with an exchange student from Turkistan. She was so excited to have this opportunity to be creative. Her artwork bubbled over with this joy. I visited with a senior girl who had seen artists on the streets of Los Angeles painting with spray paint, done some research and taught herself how to do incredible scenes with detail and skill. Another young man I talked to wanted to know how he could further his showmanship. We talked quite a while, and I know he will grow more competent with every piece he brings forward, because he’s hungry for knowledge. He has just started painting with pastels. What a joy new media brings.


A quick word on copy work. We learn by copying, be it letters, food, or football. I could not criticize kids for copy work, but it must be a stepping stone. They must now make each move original, even though the source was planted in some other space. A new stroke, new color, new dynamics. Life after high school. 


Most comments from my peers tend to start “Better you than I. This is a tough show.” And they are right. I do hope, however, that somewhere, frontiers were expanded, a sense of accomplishment was achieved, and they are saying, “I’m so glad I entered that show. I’ll do it and do even more wonderful work next year.


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