The art of students

The Central Iowa Metro League art show, held at Iowa Central Community College Thursday, showcased works by students from six area schools: Fort Dodge, Ames, Mason City, Marshalltown, Waukee and West Des Moines.

This year, the conference was hosted by Fort Dodge Senior High.

“It’s literally the best of the best work here in the CIML,” Jennifer Dutcher, FDSH art instructor, said. “It’s 150 pieces submitted, both two- and three-dimensional. And there’s 25 categories.”

Iowa Central’s Decker Auditorium gallery was already bustling with activity when it opened for the show at 9 a.m.

“We have six schools, including ourselves, that are here. We have three schools yet to arrive,” Dutcher said. “Right now, students are viewing the show and voting for the student choice award.”

After viewing the works created by their peers, the students broke into two sessions, during which local and surrounding area artists presented their work and/or offered a hands-on workshop with the students.

“We have a lot of artists here throughout the campus,” Dutcher said. “Then we’ll all come back and there will be an awards presentation starting at noon.”

Maureen Seamonds, an Iowa Central humanities professor, said the art show, the third held at the college this year, was exciting.

“It’s a fun opportunity to see what the high school art students are working on and to see the diversity out in the classrooms, the hard work, the support from the teachers and the community they have,” Seamonds said. “It’s really pretty awesome.”

Iowa Central artists participated as presenters, according to Seamonds. There were 10 presenters doing 25 workshops, giving the students many hands-on opportunities.

“It’s nice for them to be able to work with their peers from other schools and see the work their peers are doing,” Seamonds said. “It really is an exciting time for an art student, makes it on the par with all the other conference activities in athletics and drama and debate.”

Several of Dutcher’s students had works in the show.

“I think I submitted nine pieces. Fort Dodge submitted 25 pieces total,” she said. “There’s quite a few two- and three-dimensional pieces I submitted.”

Dutcher described hosting the show as “quite the adventure.”

“We are not only participating, but we host the show this year,” she said. “It was the good kind of stress, planning a show. I learned a lot.”

More excited about participating in the show were the students.

“They’re thrilled, they’re very honored,” Dutcher said. “They even invited their family, which is great. Because the show is local, their parents, siblings, can come see the awards ceremony at the end of the show today.”

Seamonds, attending the show, said it was impressive to see not only the works of art, but to see in them the strength of area art programs.

“For instance, if I just isolate one thing, say drawing skills, they have a lot of technical ability,” she said. “Plus, it’s really exciting to see the amount of expression they put in their work. They’re not afraid to do that. It’s very encouraging.”