Casey Croucher/Recorder staff AHS seniors Tyler Lavignia, left, and Lauren Corcuera show each other their artwork Thursday night at the 21st annual Amsterdam High School Student Art Show.
Casey Croucher/Recorder staff Kimberly Morales, left, points to her artwork on a class totem pole that art teacher, Michele Van Wormer, right, instructed.
Casey Croucher/Recorder staff AHS sophomores Orlando Cedeno, left, and Quentin Gillis talk about their Spider-man totem pole Thursday night.
By CASEY CROUCHER
Thursday night the Creative Connections Art Center in Amsterdam opened its doors for people to enjoy more than 700 pieces of artwork created by local students.
The 21st annual Amsterdam High School Student Art Showcase reception featured work from high school students and fifth-graders from the William H. Barkley MicroSociety Magnet School.
Artwork ranged from portraits, sculptures, digital drawings, fashion design drawings and collages.
There were plenty of free refreshments for the public and a small concert from Fultonville-based Sawyer Fredericks and Courtney Heinz.
As residents of the community perused the exhibit, commenting on colors, shapes, accuracy and creativity, school district teachers beamed with pride.
Tina Rodriguez, an art teacher, said the event is important for both the community and the children.
"We're here to celebrate and show off the hard work of our students," Rodriguez said. "These kids feel empowered having their artwork on display. They embrace that empowerment and it gives them pride and confidence and it's wonderful to see."
Rodriguez teaches at both the high school and Barkley. She said the work of the fifth-graders is just as impressive as the high schoolers, so she "had to include it in the show."
"These students are so motivated when they find out that their work will be on display here," she said. "I love watching them work hard and celebrate the fruits of their labor."
AHS art teacher Michele Van Wormer, who's seen 20 years of student art shows, said the school does this event to highlight the hard work its students accomplish.
"We pretty much show a piece [of artwork] from everyone," Van Wormer said. "We like to influence our students to strive for their personal best, so when we tell them about the yearly art show they work hard so that the community will like their work. This event is great because it shows what our kids can do, helps motivate them, and brings our community together."
Senior art students Lauren Corcuera and Tyler Lavigna said their interest in art just kind of happened.
"It's always been a hobby," Lavigna said. "I used to just draw things, then I took art and it actually turned into something. I just think it's really fun."
Lavigna displayed digital artwork of fantasy animals and scenes on a computer, she said the work takes her about seven to 14 hours to accomplish.
Corcuera agreed, saying she used to doodle all the time and once she was forced to do artwork for school, she found out she was good at it.
"It's just something I like to do now," she said.
Sophomores Quentin Gillis and Orlando Cedeno created a Spider-man-themed totem pole for Van Wormer's class.
The totem pole, crafted from clay, features Spider-man and his enemy Venom fighting on a skyscraper.
The friends said they've always been fans of the superhero so they decided to bring their passion for Spider-man into the classroom.
"Spider-man was the first toy I ever had," Cedeno said. "He's always been my favorite."
"I always wanted to be a superhero, like everyone else does, and I always wanted to be Spider-man," Gillis said.