Art museum

The high school exhibition is back at the Musée d’art du Grand Lafayette | Community

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Local high school students show off their artistic abilities through an exhibit at the Greater Lafayette Art Museum. For the next two weeks, the exhibition will be open to the public.

The high school exhibit is usually only displayed in one of the museum’s galleries. This year, they have gone down to two. The exhibit went virtual during the pandemic, but now the in-person version is up and running again.

This exhibit has been an annual tradition at the museum for nearly 20 years. It normally features around 130 works of art. This time, the jurors judging the art decided to exhibit the 183 pieces they received.

The showcase features creations by students from eight local high schools. There are several categories of artwork on display, including photography, painting, and even jewelry.

Museum curator Andrea Klutzke says the exhibit is a great way for the community to connect with the next generation of artists.

“I think it’s important for people to come and see where the future of art is going,” Klutzke said. “You can see it through the artwork of all these students. There is so much talent in the work of all these students. It’s so wonderful to see.

One of these young artists is Harrison senior Matt Pekarek. He won first place in ceramics for his pulp wall hanging. Pekarek credits many of his mentors for helping him find his passion, including Diana May, who runs Muddog Pottery at Battle Ground.

Pekarek says he made this piece in May’s studio. At first, he was surprised to learn that he had received the highest honors in his category, as well as the Art League award and the Artists’ Own award.

“I didn’t expect the result I received,” Pekarek said. “It was actually very exciting.”

Pekarek plans to major in architecture in college, possibly with an additional major or minor in studio art.

Benton Central Senior Alexandra Honicutt received the Museum Curator’s Award for her painting. She’s been making art all her life, but bigger pieces like this are new to her. She will pursue her passion for art in college, receiving a substantial scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago this fall.

“I think I’ll be doing art probably for the rest of my life,” Honicutt said. “It’s definitely the most expressive thing I can do as a person.”

Lafayette Jeff senior Mouhammed Mbalakolele also likes to express himself through his art. He received first place for his oil painting from one of his high school art teachers, Steve Marin.

Mbalakolele is a refugee from Africa, and Mara Battiste, an art teacher at Lafayette Jeff, says Marin has had a big impact on his life since arriving in the United States.

“Being in his class meant a lot to him,” Battiste said. “Coming here and getting comfortable and learning to speak English and being able to do something he loved to do.”

Mbalakolele wants to attend Ivy Tech Community College for computer science and art history. After that, he aimed for Purdue University to pursue art.

This year’s high school art exhibit will be on display at the museum on South 10th Street through April 17. The museum is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.