Early education can make all the difference in a young artist’s life, and for the past 42 years, the Jefferson Foundation has celebrated the work of high school artists.
The work of an influential teacher is also part of the celebration, and for the first time, this year a Jeffco alumnus will also have her work on display.
The Jefferson Foundation High School Art Exhibition has been hosted by the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., for the past 36 years, and this year’s show will kick off on April 12 and run through May 12.
The work of teacher Scot Odendahl and alumnus Heidi Jung goes on display April 5 through May 5.
“This is definitely the best high school show in the area,” said Arvada Center exhibition manager and curator Collin Parson. “It started out being shown at the old Lakeside Mall, but has been exhibited here at the Center since its inception.”
There will be more than 400 students works from 23 Jeffco high schools.
Parson said that Jeffco students are able to submit a certain number of pieces in a variety of categories — from painting to jewelry and sculpture to crafts and fibers — and teachers get jurors to come through and select the best works.
“This is one of the few shows that our staff here doesn’t do any of the hanging or organization,” Parson said. “There is a committee of teachers who comes and does all the hanging, our staff just helps make sure everything is clean and presented right.”
Odendahl teaches at Warren Tech High School, and has done some graphic design work for the Arvada Center prior to getting this exhibit. He works with prints and uses screen printing techniques to draw attention to the elements that he sees as the most important in his works.
Jung, a graduate of Jefferson County Open School, first had her work display at the center during the 1989 high school exhibition, and is now returning for her largest exhibit yet.
“It’s really been a feeling of coming full circle, since I’ll be doing some jurying and doing some collaborative works with my art teacher from school, Susie Bogard,” Jung said. “The fact that I’m doing this exhibit back at the Arvada Center is great.”
Jung has been working since December to create a whole new body of work for the show, focusing on her theme of monochromatic botanical paintings and drawings.
“My brain is constantly in photography mode — I’m always thinking in pictures,” she said. “There’s a focus on botanical scenes because it’s kind of an endless subject, and I’m always looking at new kinds of plants.”
Jung said art education growing up was crucial to her development as an artist, and she said that she took every single art class that was available while in school.
“My favorite time of the day was always when the paints came out,” she said. “Art has been an enormous part of my education, and has really taught me some invaluable lessons.”
For more information on the shows, call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org.