BOUNTIFUL -- The current exhibit at the Bountiful/Davis Art Center is more than just paintings and sculpture; it's a testament to the commitment to the arts that is alive and thriving in the Davis School District.
The annual Davis School District High School Students and Art Educators Exhibition, which is open to the pubic, features more than 150 pieces of artwork from junior and high school students and teachers.
"It's a little bit edgy," said Emma Dugal, art center executive director. "Kids this age like to make statements with their art, which is a valid thing to do. Every year it's a little different. It's always interesting to see what they come up with. I enjoy seeing their creativity in bloom."
The mediums are as varied as the artists themselves, ranging from paintings and photography to sculpture and jewelry.
"There isn't any kind of art that isn't shown," said Lester Lee, a Woods Cross arts teacher and an organizer of the event. "If you miss it you will be sorry -- great stuff. These kids are some of the most creative I have seen in my career."
The event is organized by the Woods Cross High School, said Lee, and is a significant experience for students.
"For some of these kids this makes the difference if they are going to be an art major or not," he said. "This really sparks their momentum when it comes to deciding what their major is going to be. Students say they don't like to show their work, but in reality, to be shown in the public eye as a professional is really a boost to the ego and the creative soul."
Awards were given in several different categories at the exhibit's opening Wednesday night. The pieces were judged by local professional artists.
"I wouldn't say I feel competitive, but I do feel honored to be in the show with other great young artists," said Woods Cross senior Halee Johnson, who entered two pieces in the show, a glass etching print and an acrylic cityscape.
Johnson said being part of the show is a good opportunity for her as an artist.
"This is a really big step forward in integrating myself in the art world, locally and in Utah," she said. "Though I am young I have big dreams, hopefully becoming more integrated in the national scene of art."
Johnson is one of the artists who have chosen to put their art pieces up for sale at the show.
"It's a beautiful feeling to know that someone wants to have (your art) to look at when they wake up in the morning," she said.
One of the more creative mediums at this year's show was used by the youngest artists. Bountiful Elementary students used garbage to make masterpieces. Their creations of junk and art are called JArt.
"Garbage and kids are kind of a natural match," said Sheri Thompson, a Bountiful Elementary librarian who has organized the JArt project for five years.
"Because I am a passionate environmentalist, I have really tried to convey to the kids that there are so many things that can be recycled, reused and re-purposed. Every year I am blown away by their creativity. I think this year has been absolutely the best."
Thompson said the students use everything from milk cartons to old patio furniture. She encourages them to go dumpster diving, "with parental supervision, of course."
The best JArt project from each grade and the People's Choice winner, voted on by the students and teachers, will be on display along with the Davis School District art show.
"To see their work displayed with spotlights on it, it's just really wonderful for them," Johnson said.
The JArt People's Choice winner turned trash into patriotism. Using cardboard, carpet and newspapers fifth-grader Nakita Shelly made a replica of the White House.
"I made it out of recycled stuff," she said. "I just wanted to do something that had to do with America. I used material from older clothes that were going to be thrown away. I thought it was kind of cool using stuff instead of just throwing it away."
Whether it was paintbrushes, cameras or garbage, all of the art has the students' and teachers' creativity in common.
"The purpose is to celebrate the talent and the abilities of the students in the art programs in the district, and also to give the public a chance to see what wonderful programs and students we have," said Donna Croft, Davis School District fine arts supervisor.
Johnson said she entered the show because of the encouragement of Lee, her art teacher. She said art is an important part of education.
"Art is not only a documentation of our era and society, but it's a representation of our ideals and our thoughts and our hopes and dreams," she said. "It's truly unfortunate that schools don't become more focused on art, but I am glad Woods Cross is as involved as it is. I'm really glad to be in this show and I am glad we have these kinds of events to have the youth integrated into the art scene."
What: Davis District Art Show
When: Now through April 30
Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Bountiful/Davis Art Center, 745 So. Main Street, Bountiful
Admission: Free to the public