Art students showcase work at Decatur library

Art students showcase work at Decatur library

Walk in from the back of the Decatur public library and see the different faces of Decatur students. Strikingly similar to the real thing, the self portraits of Manuel Burge, Rachel Reed, Summer Sullivan, Rhiannon Stone-Miller and many others look back at their audience.

For the month of December, Decatur art students are displaying their art work inside the Decatur branch of DeKalb County Public Library. “They are the first things you see when you walk inside of the library,” Decatur art teacher Wendy Keith-Ott said.

Decatur has been collaborating with the public library for more than fourteen years. “It’s a win-win because the library has something attractive on the walls for people to look at and the students have a place to display their work,” Keith-Ott said.

For one month of the year the Decatur art students get to exhibit their art at the library for all to see. “It feels great knowing the art that we create has an audience and some exposure,” art student Rhiannon Stone-Miller said.

In order for their art to be selected the art students must be in the advanced classes and be finished with their respective works of art by the deadline set by Keith-Ott. “If you want your art up there you work to finish by the due date, and for the most part, we all wanted our art to be up there,” Stone-Miller said.

After the students finish with their artworks Keith-Ott decides which ones should go up on the wall. “I look for variety in the art work and think about how well received it will be,” Keith-Ott said. “I think this year there is a varied group of art displayed.”

Having their artwork displayed has come as a source of pride for the art students. Stone-Miller, who has taken art at Decatur for all four years of high school, says that the feeling of pride never gets old. “It feels great when I have people come up to me at school and say they saw by portrait at the library,” Stone Miller said, “I like that the displays show what artistic talents I have to offer.” This will be Stone-Miller’s second time having her artwork displayed at the library.

For the art students, this is the best way to gain exposure for their work. “The shows are like our version of playoffs and homecoming games,” Stone-Miller said. “It’s when we get to show our skills to everyone else.”

“When people (at the library) ask me who the work is done by and I say the students, they get extremely surprised,” Keith-Ott said.

Although not too common, there have been instances where people wanted to buy the displayed art. For these times, Keith-Ott acts as a mediator between the buyers and sellers. “People want to buy it cheaper when they hear it’s the work of students and the students comply,” Keith-Ott said, “ I want to make sure that the art is sold for what it is worth, even if they are just students. All of the proceeds go to the students for each sell they get. “It’s their work and so they should get all of the revenue,” Keith-Ott said.

The Decatur students’ art showcase will be up for the whole month of December. “I hope people go and look at we have made,” Stone-Miller said. ”We want to show what the art students can really do.”