Art is: Young talent on display at student art show

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 19, 2017

Art is by Bev Jackson Cotter

Bev Jackson Cotter is a member of The Albert Lea Art Center, 226 W. Clark St. in Albert Lea.

The Student Art Show at Northbridge Mall is great!

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How neat it is to meander through more than 800 pieces of art, each one created by a kid who thinks art class is fun, but probably doesn’t realize that art is also serious.

Bev Jackson Cotter

Hopefully, those young people will eventually learn how valuable that creative time is.

There is only a week left for you to enjoy the student show. Please set aside time to check it out. You will be introduced to pencil portraits done with surprising insight into personality, rolled paper sculptures, clay animals, a plastic bottle tree, an octopus with his own story, black fish with big teeth, the Christmas version of “American Gothic,” decorated elephants and hundreds of other serious and fun examples of student art.

The teachers in our schools must have a grand time introducing the work of famous artists and encouraging projects in those styles, or offering opportunities for the kids to create their own clever designs from an example offered to them.

I can guarantee you will not be disappointed in this show. It’s creativity at its best.

Recently I ran across an old Reader’s Digest article about Leonardo da Vinci. While I remember him for the intriguing look in the eyes of the Mona Lisa, and I knew he was also a talented inventor, I had no idea his creativity carried him into so many different worlds. His inventions included the monkey wrench, ratchets, jacks, winches, the lathe, cranes, pistons, pulleys, springs, roller bearings and the one-handed scissors. He described ideas for the internal combustion engine, air conditioning, the pedometer and odometer, the machine gun, tank and submarine, a frogman’s diving suit and snorkel, and the glider, parachute and helicopter. The list goes on and on. When Columbus was discovering America, da Vinci was creating tools and other ideas that would be used and improved upon for hundreds of years.

He was fascinated by the revolutions of the planets, by birds in flight, by fish in the ocean, by almost every aspect of life and it all stemmed back to his interest in creativity and his never-ending pursuit of the new and unknown.

His art knew no boundaries and no limits.

Do you suppose that one or many of the young people who are displaying their two- and three-dimensional works in the Student Show will find that their creativity will bring them new opportunities? We hope so.

There is another artist whose life I will always question.

Adolph Hitler had a grand plan for Europe that included a city of the arts in Austria. His three-dimensional, room-sized model included galleries, theatres, libraries, gathering places for artists, schools and any number of art and cultural environments. Just a few days before his suicide, he spent time immersed in that room, studying the city plan and dreaming of the future society he imagined.

Hitler was interested in architecture. In his youth, he was denied admission to two art schools.

Is it possible, if he had been able to pursue his dream, that history as we know it never would have happened? Is it possible that his creative mind would have found peace and beauty instead of hate and destruction? Is that possible? We will never know.

In Lowenfeld and Brittain’s book “Creative and Mental Growth,” they discuss a group of 400 high school students who took a variety of creative tests and then were interviewed 12 years after graduation.

“The young people who were identified as creative during their high school years had become productive, creative adults,” the study said, noting many chose studying abroad and unusual occupations, interesting careers and made positive contributions to society.

When I began writing this column, I suggested you meander through the current Student Art Show at Northbridge Mall. These kids are beginning an artistic journey. Who knows where their creative spirits will take them.