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Holladay Journal

Olympus students’ art displayed at Springville Art Museum’s 50th annual all-state show

Feb 22, 2022 08:54PM ● By Heather Lawrence

AP Art Studio students work on their portfolios in Jeremy Petersen’s class at Olympus High. In the foreground are four of the students whose entries were selected for the Springville Museum of Art’s All-State Art Show. L to R: Jeremy Petersen, Sophie Santos, Katherine Carlston, Janie Bonham and Maddi Fairbanks. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

The Springville Museum of Art student show runs through March 25. Now in its 50th year, the All-State High School Art show received 1,063 entries this year. Of those, 335 were selected for exhibition. Entries from seven Olympus High students were among those selected for the show.

“I assigned the AP art students to enter this show because it helps them build up their portfolios, which is how they get credit for the class. They hate it when I assign them to enter things, but then they’re really glad afterwards that they did it,” said Olympus’s AP art teacher Jeremy Petersen.

The selections included Janie Bonham, the art Sterling Scholar from Olympus. Bonham’s work is an oil on board called “Anticipation.” It received an Award of Merit.

“I was interested in the idea of time, and when I first started I was painting something that had to do with procrastination. The more I worked with it, the more I realized I wanted to change it and do something different. So I made her (the subject) looking forward to something instead of procrastinating,” Bonham said.

Most of the students whose entries were selected are in Petersen’s AP art class. Instead of a traditional AP test for credit, on test day the students upload their portfolio to be adjudicated. They also have several presentation nights in the spring.

Junior Sophie Santos was also given an Award of Merit. Her digital painting was selected for the traveling exhibition, and is called “Solution 5: Oyster Mushrooms to Combat Oxidized Oil Spill.”

Santos’s artist statement explains how her art expresses her hope for solutions to climate issues.  “Mushrooms are an untapped resource when resolving the threats pollution poses to humanity’s current way of life. They can digest plastics and crude oil, and become a sustainable method to clean up our messes.”

Santos envisions oyster mushrooms as “futuristic machinery” to help the climate crisis. And yes, she has also thought of and illustrated solutions one through four.

Junior Katherine Carlston’s entry of oil on board called “Accidental Light” won an Honorable Mention, 3rd Congressional District. Her painting depicts a young woman in blue flanked by ravens. Her face is aglow with light. Carlston drew inspiration from a Native American myth that ravens brought light to the universe after stealing it.

Maddi Fairbanks is a senior whose work “Blue” was done in ballpoint pen. “I just bought a pack of cheap pens from the dollar store.” Pens are much harder to draw with than pencils because you can’t erase mistakes, but Fairbanks said that was actually her intention.

“My drawing has a lot of scribbles, which might look like mistakes. But my piece represents finding beauty in imperfection.…[It’s] overwhelming up close. From afar one can understand how flaws can work together to form something beautiful,” Fairbanks said.

Artist statements from three other students describe their works. Rebekah Latham is a junior who used papier-mâché to create an alebrije—a fantastical Mexican folk art sculpture. It’s called “Colors Through an Alebrije.”

“This project challenged me because this is my first time actually sculpting with papier-mâché. I thought it might be interesting to create this project using animals to represent earth, wind and water,” Latham wrote.

Senior Eliza Meier’s oil on board painting of a leopard is called “Curiosity,” and was selected for the traveling exhibition.

“I wanted to redefine the stereotype of a predatory animal by focusing on the leopard’s curiosity rather than the killer instincts. Repeating patterns in the background also emphasize its individualized pattern, which makes each one unique,” Meier said.

Several of the entries used images found online for models, but senior Avery English found inspiration much closer to home. Her pencil drawing is of her and her dog, Indi. The work is titled “Indi,” and it won the First Place Award, 3rd Congressional District.

English and Indi are depicted in a happy, cozy embrace. English writes simply, “I feel dogs are a reliable source of love.”

The students are quick to give mentoring credit to their teacher. “He is so good to work with. And he knows so much. Ask him anything about art history—he knows everything. He gives such good advice on our artwork, but on other things too,” Carlston said of Petersen.  

Petersen and art teacher Michelle McCowan helped the students with the logistics and details of entering the Springville show and others throughout the year. Requirements for framing, drop-off, and other hard deadlines are easier when a teacher is there to guide the students.

Principal Jennifer Christensen is excited for the artists. “This is amazing! Our students are extremely talented. It is so much fun to see them achieve these wonderful accomplishments.”

For information about visiting the museum in Springville, or to see images of all the selected entries including the seven from Olympus students, visit the museum’s website, and search “high school art show.”