In an untitled pencil drawing, a high school student depicts a young man sporting an afro, mustache and glasses, offering a skeptical side-eye to the action unfolding just beyond the edges of the canvas. In the mixed media “Plastic for Dinner,” real trash seeps from the plated belly of a painted fish, an environmental indictment of our polluted oceans as created by an eighth grader.
And in “Death of a Bald Rat,” a decaying rat with a bloody wound and a top hat lies next to a spilled cup of coffee against an otherwise serene background of grass, red carnations, plant leaves, and a small table of coffee which, perhaps ominous. , has a second place.
There’s enough to unpack in the three-dimensional piece of art to warrant meditation on the unexpected capriciousness of life and death—no small undertaking for a high school senior.
The juried art exhibit that opened Wednesday at Creators Space in the Creators Cup Cafe in downtown St. Paul’s East Seventh Street, does not feature professional artists. But the 65 pieces that make up the “Young Artist in Progress” exhibit still offer some telling insights into the sometimes lighthearted, sometimes serious outlooks of the metro east’s youth.
This is the second year that COMPAS, a non-profit arts education organization based in St. Paul, hosted a student art exhibit at Creators Space with support from Charitable Foundation St. Paul Jaycees and the City of St. Louis Sales Tax Revitalization Program. Paul’s Cultural STAR.
An opening reception and awards ceremony is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 9, in the cafe’s art gallery, located at 218 Seventh St. East.
Students between the ages of 12 and 18 from across the metro east were invited to submit visual art. In total, 62 students submitted 135 pieces, of which 65 pieces were chosen by a jury of COMPAS teaching artists to be included in the show, which includes photography, ceramics, painting, drawing, graphic arts and 3D sculpture. The students come from Woodbury High School, East Ridge High School in Woodbury, North High School in North St. Paul and Roseville Area Middle School.
The Emerging Young Artists Program continues the legacy of the Les Farrington Best 100 Juried Art Show, an annual youth art exhibition in St. Paul administered by St. Paul Jaycees from 1957 to 2019. The exhibit is free and open to the public through March 24.