Edwardsburg students showcase artwork at Cass District Library

CASSOPOLIS — The Cassopolis branch of the Cass District Library had a new look Wednesday evening, as the walls were covered in colorful creations from the youth of Cass County, and dozens roamed the building to catch a glimpse of each and every work of art.

Edwardsburg Public Schools teamed up with local artists’ group, the Cass Area Artists, to host a gallery featuring artwork from the high and middle school classes at the Cassopolis Library Wednesday. Facilitators of the event called the gallery a success, adding that it gave students a unique experience.

“We wanted to show the kids that art is a performance,” said Cass Area Artists President Tom Rose. “They do all this hard work and no one gets to see it. So, this is really uplifting and motivating for them.”

Rose said that the gallery idea came to fruition after Kim Sawyer, an Edwardsburg High School employee and a member of the Cass Area Artists, proposed creating an educational experience for the children of Edwardsburg. From there, the artists’ group came up with the idea to host a gallery, and Sawyer gathered permission slips and worked with Edwardsburg art teachers and the Cass District Library to put on the event.

“She really did a great job,” Rose said of Sawyer’s work. “I think this is an event that everyone can enjoy.”

Students who attended the event certainly seemed to enjoy themselves, with several exciting showing off their work and explaining their methods to those passing by.

Katherine Harr, an 11th-grader at EHS, showed off a number of works at the gallery, including a self-portrait. She said she was excited about the gallery because it allowed her to share her art projects with the community.

“Having the community come out and see our art is really cool,” Harr said. “I like to express myself through my art. It’s really relaxing and it’s a way to express your creativity in a way that can be beneficial to you and the community. So, it’s really cool to be able to share that with other people here.”

EHS art teacher Becky Coleman and Edwardsburg Middle School art teacher Christina Hartz were in attendance at the gallery. They said that the event was valuable not only because it gave the community a chance to see the student’s work, but also that it can display the importance of art classes in the schools.

“Art classes give [students] a chance to work with the right side of their brain and just create. It gives them a bit of a break,” Hartz said. “Having their creativity showcased here is really special.”

Coleman added that she thinks the gallery was beneficial, because seeing student’s art displayed professionally allowed both the students and the community to be proud of their creativity.

“I think it’s good for the community to see what [the students are doing and appreciate their creativity]” Coleman said. “Art is a way for kids to learn new skills, techniques and to stretch their creativity and challenge themselves. It’s a place for them to express themselves in a visual way.

“I’m so grateful to the Cass Area Artists and the library for allowing these students to show their work and how important it is.”

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