Teacher Raissa Byer and ninth-grader Amanda Bera stand next to Bera’s painting, which can be seen on display at Prairie Wind Coffee by other student art. Albert Lea High School art teachers have been working with the coffee shop to display student art throughout the year. --Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune
Teacher Raissa Byer and ninth-grader Amanda Bera stand next to Bera’s painting, which can be seen on display at Prairie Wind Coffee by other student art. Albert Lea High School art teachers have been working with the coffee shop to display student art throughout the year. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Divulging student art

Published 6:49am Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thanks to their art teachers, high school students are getting the chance to show their art alongside other Albert Lea artists at a local coffee shop.

Albert Lea High School art teachers Raissa Byer and Robin Brown worked with Kirk Foley, owner of downtown Albert Lea’s Prairie Wind Coffee, to find a way to display the students’ art.

“I was really happy because they were beyond supportive,” Byer said.

The display can be found behind the main counter and to the right, by a small sitting area. Right now there are six pieces up, and Byer said the teachers try to switch out the pieces each month.

“We don’t know what we’re doing yet for the summer, but we’re hoping to figure something out,” Byer said.

Amanda Bera’s mixed media piece is titled “A Journey to Your Dreams.”
Amanda Bera’s mixed media piece is titled “A Journey to Your Dreams.”

Student art has been displayed at Prairie Wind Coffee since October, and Byer said the teachers have had a hard time picking out which pieces to display. There are many different art classes they can choose from, with students in drawing, mixed media and other art classes. There are even more options in the future if they find a way to display sculptures and other larger pieces.

“One of our end goals is to encourage students,” Byer said. “Art is something you can be so self-conscious about.”

One student, ninth-grader Amanda Bera, currently has a mixed media piece at the coffee shop. Its title is “The Journey to Your Dreams.” Bera is the daughter of Ernie and Carol, of Albert Lea, and said she enjoys art. It might just run in the family, since her dad enjoys drawing and her grandpa makes wood carvings.

Her mixed media piece shows a bridge, with water on one side and sand on the other. It was made with pieces of magazine pages, tissue paper, sand, water colors and more.

“Amanda is really good about exploring options,” Byer said.

Bera is taking Byer’s mixed media class and a drawing class as well.

Art work by students from Albert Lea High School can be seen at Prairie Wind Coffee in downtown Albert Lea.
Art work by students from Albert Lea High School can be seen at Prairie Wind Coffee in downtown Albert Lea.

“I like mixed media more — drawing is different,” Bera said.

She enjoys drawing somewhat but had to ask her dad for help while drawing a portrait. Bera spends a lot of time in her family’s art room, where she’ll work on art or puzzles or just hang out.

Bera worked on the mixed media piece in her art class period for about two weeks straight. She enjoys her table mates, who sometimes voice their opinions about each others’ art.

Overall, Byer said the students have been excited when their art is chosen to be shown at the coffee shop. It’s been one way to get more exposure for student artists.

“It’s a nice selection of what we’ve been working on,” Byer said.

Byer said previously student art can only be seen at parent-teacher conferences and at the Albert Lea Art Center’s annual elementary and secondary education show. Showing the art at the coffee shop is just one more way to show the community that the students are busy creating lots of great, creative pieces.

“Maybe other businesses would want to do this too,” Byer said. “Community members I’ve talked to say it’s great.”