Student exhibition returns to DIA for 81st year

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published April 13, 2018

 The Detroit Institute of Arts’ 81st annual Community District Student Exhibition will include a variety of artwork such as “Pensive,” a painting by Tamia Jackson. Jackson is a senior at Renaissance High School.

The Detroit Institute of Arts’ 81st annual Community District Student Exhibition will include a variety of artwork such as “Pensive,” a painting by Tamia Jackson. Jackson is a senior at Renaissance High School.

Photo provided by Pamela Marcil

 Artwork by Detroit Public Schools students will be on display from April 14 to May 13. This includes pieces such as “Little Boy Blue,” a photograph by senior Kaleigh Blevins, of Cass Technical High School.

Artwork by Detroit Public Schools students will be on display from April 14 to May 13. This includes pieces such as “Little Boy Blue,” a photograph by senior Kaleigh Blevins, of Cass Technical High School.

Photo provided by Pamela Marcil

DETROIT — The Detroit Institute of Arts will once again showcase hundreds of imaginative works created by Detroit Public Schools Community District students as part of the 81st annual Detroit Public Schools Community District Student Exhibition.

The exhibition will take place between April 14 and May 13. Students in kindergarten through the 12th grade from 21 local schools submitted 547 works, from which 177 were chosen for the exhibition by a jury of local artists, retired school district educators and DIA staff.

“It’s our longest-standing partnership with any educational organization. It’s important we develop a relationship with the students in the city, and we like to keep that relationship strong,” said Jenny Angell, an associate educator with the DIA. “Students are chosen by their individual art teachers at the schools. All of the teachers’ selections are then selected by a jury made up of half-retired DPS art teachers and half DIA staff.”

The exhibition is free with museum admission, which is no charge for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The exhibition began with a kickoff event April 14.

“It will be displayed in the Kirby Gallery next to the Asian galleries near the Kirby Street business entrance,” said Angell. “It’s a large gallery where the work will all be displayed together. We have the opening on April 14 in the Detroit Film Theater, when students and their families are invited and several receive awards for their work. After that, there also (was) an official opening of the show directly after in the gallery.”

The artwork submitted by the students will include a variety of forms and mediums including ceramics, collages, drawings, videos, textiles, jewelry, paintings, photography, prints and sculptures.

The museum staff and organizers said this display has shown, in the decades since its inception, the profound impact that fostering and appreciating a love of art in students can make.

“I hope they get a sense of pride seeing their art on the museum walls, and this encourages them to continue with art in their education and perhaps integrate art in their daily life,” Angell said.

She also wants the general public to be able to see the potential present in Detroit school children and understand why fostering the arts is so crucial to young people.

“I hope they are a little wowed by the sheer depth of talent on display. You have students all the way from kindergarten to high school seniors who are perhaps putting together a portfolio for college,” Angell added. “The district is putting a new stress on art in the schools and trying to rebuild its art program, so I hope pulling art from the students helps show people why this is so important.”

Museum administrators are expecting a great display of talent from the local students.

“This annual exhibition is so important to the students, their families and the community in general,” DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons said in a press release. “Creating art provides an outlet for students to express themselves in a very personal way, and sharing their work with the public is a point of pride for them, their families and the DIA. We look forward to the display of this year’s talent.”