It starts with art in west central Minnesota
Jade Roszak wants to study graphic arts in college. She's narrowed her schools of choice to Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall or St. Cloud State University. There's something freeing about art, she said last week, while adding mult...
Jade Roszak wants to study graphic arts in college.
She’s narrowed her schools of choice to Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall or St. Cloud State University.
There’s something freeing about art, she said last week, while adding multicolored beads to a hand-crafted dreamcatcher in the high school gymnasium in Canby.
It’s a credo she shared with some 180 other students on hand for Art is the Start Day. The event, held annually at a different location in western region of the state, offers art students in ninth through 12th grades an opportunity to socialize with like minds, turn their hand to different mediums and discuss arts-related degrees and programs with a representative on hand from Minnesota colleges.
Among this year’s throng were students from the Dawson-Boyd, Renville County West and Yellow Medicine East school districts and a smattering of their educators.
Each of the students was offered a roster of nine workshops: printmaking, screen printing, dreamcatchers, photography, creating with coban, talking sticks, wheat weaving, caricature drawing, and aluminum pour/raku pottery. They were required to attend six.
Roszak had already notched a morning catalog of workshops when she sat down to weave her dreamcatcher, a small hoop containing horsehair mesh and decorated with feathers and beads. Native Americans believe them to ward off dreams.
“It’s kind of inspiring to be able to learn different things from different cultures,” the sophomore from Dawson-Boyd said.
Across the gym, 15-year-old Dawson-Boyd student Gunnar Tucholke was intent as he cut a square of coban, a porous, non-woven polyester used in medical wraps and bandages. Instructor Scott Hanson was steering Tucholke on manipulating the material into disparate forms.
“It’s been a new and interesting experience for me,” Tucholke remarked.
Like Roszak, he wants to study graphic arts in college.
“What’s great about this day is that it shows the students what they can achieve through art,” said Tamara Isfeld, a teacher at RCW, who moonlights as a freelance artist, specializing in portraits, book covers and murals.
She spent the day instructing students at the raku pottery site.
Rooted in ancient Japan, raku is lead-glazed earthenware created through a process by which it’s fired at a relatively low temperature and then moved while hot to a closed container with combustible materials, she said.
Once dry, the students painted the pieces.
Taylor Travis, a student of Isfeld’s at RCW, was intrigued by the caricature drawing workshop and recreating the cartoonish likeness used as a guide by instructor John Sterner.
Travis, 15, wants to study law but also has keen musical interests. Art, she said, helps feed her creative side. She was fascinated by the talking stick workshop, during which the students cut and crafted the symbolic sticks derived from Native American culture. The sticks were used by leaders as a symbol of their authority to speak in public and would be passed around among the tribal council, allowing only the person holding the stick to speak.
“It was a blast,” she said.
According to Isfeld, the students either volunteered or were selected for the program.
It is funded through the Yellow Medicine East Integration Collaboration, comprised of the YME, RCW, Dawson-Boyd, Minneota, Lincoln Hi, Canby and Lakeview school districts.
The program is in its fourth year and was previously held at Dawson-Boyd in 2012, YME in 2013 and Minneota last year.