No reservations are required at the 28th annual Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Visual Feast, which opened with a reception April 6 and will be on display through April 29 at the Kenai Fine Arts Center.
In the gallery, a wall full of masks looks out over a display of handmade ceramics and a selection of self portraits, all created by students. About 160 students from Soldotna, Kenai, Nikiski, Seward and Homer have art on display in the gallery in categories such as painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, masks and mixed media.
“I like the fact that it spotlights so many kids… It’s an honor just to be in here,” said Vickie Roney, one of the art teachers at Kenai Alternative High School.
She and the other art teacher at Kenai Alternative, Kevin Harding, chose 18 student pieces to be in the show.
“It’s a real challenge to decide,” she said. “If you think about how many students a teacher has in a school year and how many pieces of art that class can make, to make it into the top 18 is really hard… I like being able to help the students recognize that they’ve done something special.”
Although making it into the show itself is an honor, there was also a juried contest. At the opening reception, awards were presented for the top pieces in each category and for best in show.
“It came from a place deep inside me, I can’t really explain it,” said Molly Nusbaum, a sophomore at Kenai Central High School. Her sculpture, “A Girl Giving,” won the best of show award. The piece sat on top of a piano in the center of the main gallery, a cast of her body made with chicken wire with a pheasant atop it.
“I made duct tape casts of myself and wrapped that in chicken wire. Then on top, I put a pheasant that my teacher had for the head,” Nusbaum said.
While explaining their own pieces, several students at the opening reception found inspiration in their peers’ artwork.
“Being creative and artistic is very relaxing, you can go where you want to go. It’s great, too, to come here and see other people’s work and get inspiration,” said Emma Rue, a senior at Soldotna High School.
Students were joined by family, teachers and administrators at the opening reception.
“This is one of my favorite events because of all the talent thats on display in our district, it’s phenomenal,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek.
“I think art is an important component to our school, it gives kids that might not be involved in some other aspect of their school an outlet to express themselves and shine in their own way,” said Alan Fields, principal of Kenai Central High School.
The show will be on display until April 28 at the Kenai Fine Arts Center at 816 Cook Avenue in Old Town Kenai. The galleries will be open from noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.