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Students in Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation's Visions Program Show Art in Online Exhibition

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Students in Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation's Visions Program Show Art in Online Exhibition

In the midst of a challenging end to the school year, 36 students from five local high schools finished their participation in Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation's Visions program by creating a strikingly diverse body of work for the program's first online exhibition.

Year-end artwork by the Visions participants is typically exhibited in Learning & Innovation's Center Space gallery at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. However, since the building is still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year marks the program's first online exhibition. "Visions '20" opened Friday, July 24, at ScottsdaleArtsLearning.org/exhibition/visions-20/.

"I'm delighted patrons around the world will be able to see these students' efforts in our first online exhibition," said exhibition curator Brittany Arnold, teen and family coordinator for Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. "This was a trying year to say the least, but I am proud and honored to have worked with these incredibly bright and talented young artists."

Through the appreciation and creation of art, Visions aims to cultivate the development of teen social and mental well-being, while also enhancing social connections, opening dialogue and promoting tolerance and confidence. Scottsdale Arts has provided the program to local teens for 21 years.

During the 2019-20 school year, students from five high schools across the metro Phoenix area attended monthly workshops conducted by professional artists, visited the School of Art at the University of Arizona and the art department at Phoenix College, and explored Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA).

"Visions was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime program with such incredible students and artists," said Visions student Kayli Battel. "It's even made me committed to pursuing art classes in college along with my major. I'm excited to put everything Visions taught me to the test and continue to challenge myself in the future."

Battel, who recently graduated from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, painted a large acrylic painting of a drowning lion for the "Visions '20" exhibition. Titled "Pride Goeth," the painting is a commentary on global warming and was stylistically inspired by the work of Abbey Messmer, a professional artist who worked with the Visions students, and Ana Teresa Fern√°ndez, whose art was featured in one of the SMoCA exhibitions the students experienced.

Michelle Peacock, a teacher at Saguaro High School, said the Visions program has helped one of her students who struggled with finding her voice. This particular student loved experimenting with materials and techniques while learning about the professional artists.

"Visions gave her permission to explore how she makes marks, and she has finally rested on leaving her mark on the surface," Peacock said of the student. "Her voice is clear and strong. She has influenced many students who are experimenting with leaving their mark to see what that looks like."

The "Visions '20" exhibition showcases skills and inspiration exchanged between the students and the professional artists. And during a time of social unrest, Visions students used their newly discovered artists and media to express their emotional well-being through their work.

"This year especially challenged their perseverance, given the ever-changing learning environments amidst the pandemic," Arnold said. "It was socially, emotionally and mentally taxing on these young adults, yet they pushed through the spring with unrelenting resilience and determination in order to create their highest quality of work."

To experience the online exhibition, visit ScottsdaleArtsLearning.org/exhibition/visions-20/ and scroll down to see all the images in the show. Click on each image to view a larger version of the art. Additionally, the first seven artworks are presented as videos with audio tracks of the student artists speaking about their work.

Photo Credit: Scottsdale Arts


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