PLEASANT VIEW -- It's art-show season, and Top of Utah students are making a splash in a wide range of art categories from watercolor to ceramics to jewelry making.
The Springville all-state high school show runs until March 25 and many students from Top of Utah schools are exhibiting in the show. Students from Weber High School were recently showcased in Utah State University's show at the College of Eastern Utah.
Weber High School art and jewelry teacher Mel Ralph strongly encourages his students to prepare work for shows.
"In the art world if you don't show your work you are dead in the water," Ralph said. Ralph's jewelry program is one of a handful in the state and is very popular with students. He teaches a jewelry one and jewelry two class as well as an art one class.
Although none of his jewelry students have work in the Springville show, several Weber High students have other types of art in the show. His students did have work in the USU show last month -- a show he regularly has his students enter.
That show was a little different this year, because the work was sent via picture and then once it was selected, the actual piece was delivered to the show.
Ralph said there is a certain excitement in the air when preparing students for a show. He tries to have his advanced jewelry students participate in five to six shows in the second semester and if he can't find enough shows for them to enter, they have some of their own. But he doesn't send just any work to the shows, he said; pieces have to be high quality before they can be considered.
Ralph has taught at the school for nine years and graduated from Brigham Young University with a masters degree in art. He taught adjunct at the university for several years before deciding to teach on a high school level.
"High school is very different from college, but I really like it," Ralph said.
His students worked busily around him while he switched from safety goggles to regular glasses to help students with the scroll saw, lathe and with designing. Students also came to show him pieces they were working on from just a mound of wax to a finished ring one student already wore on her finger.
Emma Satterthwaite, 17, proudly displayed her newly-made ring as she waited to get it signed off and said she plans to take the jewelry two class next year. She hopes to be able to enter shows.
"I love wearing jewelry and so to be able to design and make what I like is just really cool," she said. She has taken several art classes at the high school and loves to get her creative juices flowing in those classes.
"I love the creativity and being able to get an idea and go with it," Satterthwaite said.
Ralph likes that about the students too. He tries to make the class laid-back with music pumping and a busy hum as students work at their own pace. He expects hard work, but he wants it to be fun so students feel they can accomplish things.
"It's fun interacting with the kids and seeing their talent improve," Ralph said.
He sees that talent grow when students are working hard to submit pieces for a show.
"I guess that's why I push the shows so much," Ralph said. He is particularly impressed when students drive themselves as far as Salt Lake City to go to a show opening.
Both Weber and Ogden districts will have their own art shows next month as well.
Art show accepted works
Raymond Jan DeYoung
Sarah Johnson - 2nd place award, first congressional district
Skye Willard - Excellence Award
(2 pieces) - Excellence Award
Sarah Quintana (2 pieces)
Meagan Truett (2 pieces)
Art show accepted work
Morgan Lynn Bronson (2 pieces)
Chelsea Joe Christensen
Robert Asay (2)