When students realize the purpose(s) of their own work — including knowing it may be on display — their motivation and ownership over their project increases, according to Brianne Magill, art teacher at Central DeWitt Intermediate School.

That effort and pride in their work shows in the new exhibit at First Central Gallery, located in the lobby of the Operahouse Theatre in downtown DeWitt.

Intermediate art students in grades four through six make up the gallery’s latest display.

Magill said it is the ideal venue for the students’ creations.

“It is a very public display, which gives these artists a tremendous opportunity to showcase their hard work and talents, not only to family, but also to friends and complete strangers.”

Those students whose work is included in the exhibit are:

Fourth-graders Blake Kent, Audrina Gordon, Lena Perrone, Ella Sunday, Jacqueline Wilke, Emma Putman, Bailey Clark, Isabella Houston, Ava Elledge, Delaney Jacobsen;

Fifth-graders Connor Green, Makenna Ohnemus, Briah Reuss, Hattie Rickertson, Adriana Curtner, Emily Sons, Maelea Neilson, Adelynne Meyer, Keria Stallworth;

Sixth-graders Sophie House, Addison Pingel, Molly Burken, Niya Miller, Colton Penniston, Megan Schladetzky, Kinley Birt, Jaida Houston, Audrey Wilke, Kalli Barber, Alexander Brown, Aliza Dimmick, Anna Prosise, Aiden Costas, Dalani Beuthien, Lily Pauly, Amelia Griffin and Raelyn Schroeder.

Magill said narrowing her options from about 130 pieces to just a dozen or less per grade level is no easy task. But, there are specific things she looks for and — for the times when she can’t decide — she enlists a second pair of eyes to help.

“This year, a high school student whose work happened to be featured at the theater when I had her in sixth grade was in my classroom when I was trying to decide on a handful of pieces,” Magill explained. “She was able to provide some great reasoning to help me reach my final choices.”

When selecting art for the annual display, Magill said she critiques the artist’s use of the elements and techniques they learned in class for that particular project.

She also looks for originality and craftsmanship.

It’s always gratifying to hear and see the reactions of the students whose work made it on the wall of First Central Gallery.

“Students are very excited when they learn their art is on display,” Magill related. “They are ready to go see it and show it off immediately. Some of them are even in disbelief to learn theirs was selected. It’s encouraging to see how proud and eager they are.”

Those who visit the theater and are able to view the exhibit will find the majority of the work is two-dimensional and involves a variety of media including colored pencil, marker, tempers paint, watercolor paint, chalk pastel and even magazines.

“We are busy experimenting with materials,” Magill explained.

She went on to say there are pieces that reflect personal interests, pieces that are more abstract, and pieces that share a message of peace.

It’s important for the community to recognize and celebrate students’ achievements, no matter the area — the arts, academics or sports, Magill noted.

“Bringing student work to public displays helps students to realize their efforts have value and purpose, and the community has the opportunity to see all the wonderful things our students are capable of.”