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Students win merit award at art show

Ana Anthony/Daily Globe Several students are shown with their award-winning art work. Pictured are, top (from left): Alex Andersen, Cecilia Macias, Bernarda Torrez. Bottom from left): Gracia Maldonado and Marissa Enriquez.

WORTHINGTON -- Art students from the Area Learning Center were in for a surprise Monday when they arrived at the Nobles County Art Center. They learned an art piece they had worked on for two quarters was recognized for a merit award at the Area Art Show.

Titled "Black Tuesday," the abstract piece commemorates 9/11 with students exploring non-colors, namely black and white.

ALC art teacher James Van Horn explained the oil-painting piece is the result of about 50 students collaborating to perfect it.

"Through art we can take things that aren't good and re-evaluate them so that we can learn from our past mistakes," Van Horn explained.

"I wanted them to explore the academic value of it through tint, tone and shade and understand that black and white aren't colors." he added

Van Horn presented his students with the outline of the twin towers on a blank canvas and allowed them to take the lead from there.

"I'm really proud of what they've done," he said. "All I'm doing is preparing them for college."

ALC senior Alex Andersen added while he and his peers were painting, they were unaware that students from other art classes were simultaneously working on it.

"It's impressive because we had to work with each other without talking about what we were doing," he said, explaining they began painting during first quarter of the school year.

"We thought it was a simple, little project," added fellow student, Gracia Maldonado. "It's nice though because we can look at it and know that 'I had something to do with it.'"

Nobles County Art Center director Martin Bunge explained this is the first time ALC students were recognized for the merit award. He detailed the having students qualify for a merit award was a great encouragement for them to participate in future art shows.

The Area Art Show which opened April 1 was juried by Bill Bukowski -- an art professor art at Bethany Lutheran College.

From the 129 art pieces submitted, three principal awards and 15 merit awards were given to artists who were primarily from Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota.

"Merit awards are given at the discretion of the juror when he sees a lot of outstanding work that did not make it as the top awards," Bunge explained. "He (Bukowski) thought it was amazing that a group of students could work together to do a composite piece."

The Area Art Show is open to the public from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until April 27.

Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony may be reached at 376-7321.