Art exhibit at Thomas More draws more students than years past

Patricia A. Scheyer
Patricia A. Scheyer
Patricia is a contributor to LINK nky.

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An art show at Thomas More University held this week proved to be quite popular.

each year, Thomas More holds a showcase for art from area high school seniors and juniors.

Art pieces are submitted by students and teachers from all over the tri-state area. They are judged by Thomas More’s chapter of Kappa Pi, an international art honors society.

“High school seniors who enter the exhibition, are juried into the exhibition, and if they checked the scholarship box on the artwork label, have been accepted by the University,” said director of the Eva G. Farris Art Gallery Elizabeth Neal.

Students in the competition have a chance to win scholarships valued at up to $10,000.

Some of the ceramic pieces by different student artists are on display at Thomas More University. Photo by Trisha Scheyer | LINK nky contributor

The categories for the entries are drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, photography, graphic design, short film, animation and motion design.

“This year, we have had more entries than ever,” said Neal. “I have been here 12 years and I think this has been going on for at least 20 years.”

She said on average, the exhibit receives 175 to 210 entries, but this year they got 325 from 16 different schools.

Neal thought the restrictions from COVID might have nixed the opportunity for students to develop creativity. And, without the personal guidance from the teachers in the classroom, some of the restrictions might have drained their creative juices.

Now she feels that the students are finding their voices, as well as finding out how to express their feelings.

This piece was done by Nadia Namyar, a senior at Beechwood High School. Photo by Trisha Scheyer | LINK nky contributor

“We had one that was an entire cow head on a bun,” she explained. “The artist was suggesting we might try a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Another piece was titled the Conspiracy of Silence, which brings up rape or abuse, and is a comment on society. These students definitely have a voice and they are using it.”

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Once all the pieces have been accepted and displayed, Neal and the faculty choose one that she believes speaks to her. At this show, there was a drawing of Eva Farris, done by a senior at Beechwood High School, Emmaline Farmer. Her drawing was chosen for the highest award, the Director’s Award.

Emmaline Farmer, a senior at Beechwood High School, created a drawing of Eva G. Farris, which won the Director’s Award, the highest award at the show. Photo: Trisha Scheyer | LINK nky contributor

“That piece made my heart melt a little,” said Neal. “It really spoke to me.”

To accentuate the drawing, Neal had another piece, a painting that was done by Taylor Stephenson, a student who created the painting back in 2004 when the gallery first opened, and both pieces were displayed together at the showing Monday night.

The members of the faculty picked out pieces they liked and awarded them a blue ribbon. Farmer had two other ceramic pieces in the show. One, titled “Icelandic Fable,” received a blue ribbon. Farmer is one of four students from Beechwood who had art pieces in the show, the other senior is Nadia Namyar and the two juniors are Jordan Rojas and Manuel Maldonado.

“I am thrilled that four of my students were able to win and get into the show,” said Monica Namyar, who teaches art at Beechwood. “It is an honor to be in the show. It is one of the toughest shows to get into in our area. We are always lucky to have one in the show. We were able to have four in this show, and we received three ribbons.”

Beechwood teacher Monica Namyar, juniors Manuel Maldonado and Jordan Rojas, and seniors Nadia Namyar and Emmaline Farmer. Photo: Trisha Scheyer | LINK nky contributor

Another piece that stood out was a floor-length dress created totally out of newspaper. That piece was done by Keira Schneider from Notre Dame Academy. She won a blue ribbon. Six of her classmates also had work displayed in the show.

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The entire dress made out of newspaper was created by Keira Schneider from Notre Dame Academy. Photo by Trisha Scheyer | LINK nky contributor

St. Henry High school had two students display their work, and Simon Kenton had seven students. Boone County and Covington Latin each had one student. Highlands had six students, Holmes and Holy Cross each had one student display their work.

Each art teacher could enter ten pieces, and to have a piece displayed in the show meant that piece passed the first test in the juried art show. This year there were no motion graphics or short films entered in the show.

“I feel that we are re-imagining how people communicate,” said Neal. “The filters or glasses through which we see our community, our world, is expanding. It shows that what they are teaching is making a difference. As an institution, this is the best thing I can think of.”

Neal said there are several shows a year at the Eva G. Farris gallery, including one during the summer which features local community artists. She said they are always looking for artists in the community. Also in the summer is a performance of Shakespeare.

This show will remain on display through Dec. 2. Information about the other shows is on the university website.

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