On the heels of an exhibit featuring the artistic talents of Central DeWitt High School students, a new display at First Central Gallery includes the work of Central DeWitt Middle School art students.

The exhibit will be on display in the gallery inside the lobby of the Operahouse Theatre in downtown DeWitt through Thursday, Dec. 5.

Middle school art and high school Graphic Design 1 teacher Caralyn Butler said putting students’ work out in the public for all to see is beneficial for everyone.

“It is extremely rewarding for students to have this opportunity to share their work with the community, as it provides an authentic experience of preparing their artwork for presentation,” Butler explained. “I enjoy their excitement about having their hard work and creativity on display beyond the school hallways.

“I hope the community will be encouraged about the depth of dedication of these students as they take creative risks and explore various art media and methods.”

The projects in the show include plaster masks and Batik-inspired (a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth that originated from Indonesia) endangered-animal drawings created by Art 7 students; photoshop drawings created by Art 8 students; and expressive self-portraits created in photoshop by Graphic Design 1 high school students.

Middle school students whose work is being featured are Sam Robinson, Avery Tapke, Natalie Cagle, Bry Tobey, Aleigha Navin, Jennifer Claussen, Leah Melvin, Nathaniel Griffin, Anna Rickertsen, Carlos Delgado, Rylan Edwards, Lily Gruntorad, Landra Bell, Evan Kinney, Elijah Cummins, Logyn Dingbaum, Allison Kallemeyn, Tate Schlimmer and Laura Sutton.

Graphic Design 1 high school students are Marisa Lopez, Noah Cummins, Logan Feuss, Alyssa Lampe, Austin Senske and Corey Dochterman.

Butler confessed, it’s always a challenge to narrow down her students’ work for display.

She “definitely wishes there was room to display the work of every student.” But since that’s not possible, Butler endeavors to find a variety of subject matter and methods to exhibit.

“Hopefully, this show will serve as a teaser to encourage the community to attend their art show in conjunction with the middle school winter programs in December, where the 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works of each first-semester middle-schooler will be on display,” she related. 

Butler added, the community also has the opportunity to view all of her students’ works on their portfolio websites linked to her website, “Art With Mrs. Butler.” Her website can be reached through the district’s employee directory, or simply by doing a search by the site’s title.

Those who take the time to look at the students’ art at the gallery will notice, each piece comes with an artist’s statement that includes a description of the work and what inspired the student to create it.

Butler is hopeful those viewing the exhibit will read the statements to gain insight into what the students are most proud about with regard to the pieces.

“We spend a lot of time in class discussing the importance of the process of reflection, learning from what they did and how to apply that reflection to work moving forward,” she noted. “I am as impressed with their artist statements as I am with their artistic work, and feel the statements provide deeper insight to the viewer about the artistic goals of each student.”

More Central DeWitt students’ art work is on the way at First Central Gallery. At the end of January, intermediate students’ creations will be exhibited, and in mid-April, Ekstrand Elementary art students will have their time to shine.