High School senior Arianna Dulin said her art classes at Manatee High go beyond being just pleasant diversions from academics.
“It’s where I get to express myself without talking,” she said. “I’m not that good at talking.”
Dulin’s desire to express herself through art has landed her in like-minded company.
Her work, along with that of 19 other Manatee County high school art students is on display at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. The oohing and ahhing over the students’ creativity will continue through Saturday when the 20 pieces will be sold off to the highest bidder at the Manatee Education Foundation’s 10th Annual HeArt & Soul Event.
It’s where I get to express myself without talking. I’m not that good at talking.
- Manantee High School Senior Arianna Dulin
On Monday evening, the students whose work is being showcased gathered for the formal kickoff to the event. The 20 pieces were selected from 130 submissions, and funds from the Saturday-night auction will be evenly distributed to Manatee County high school art teachers, to pay for supplies and equipment the teachers otherwise would not be able to purchase.
“The quality just gets better and better each year,” Manatee Education Foundation President Mary Glass said. “The first year it was hard to find 20 pieces to put in the auction.”
Glass said last year’s gala brought in over $40,000, and she hopes this year exceeds that.
A Monet-inspired blushing young girl, a photoshopped image of entwined hands producing rainbow-colored smoke and a ceramic tornado are a sampling of the pieces on display.
Jenna Kelly, a Braden River senior, stood proudly by a print of her grandfather’s pocket watch superimposed over a modern smart watch. She said she wanted to make a statement about how far technology has come, and the intricate gears of her grandfather’s watch mounted onto the face of a sleek Apple product show the contrast of technology in the early twentieth century compared to the technology of today.
Kelly won best of show for photography, Dulin won best of show for 2-D fine art and Morgan Mulholland, a Lakewood Ranch senior, won best of show for three-dimensional fine art.
(Art class) was always the light at the end of the tunnel when you had a tough day. It was invaluable.
- School Board of Manatee County Member Gina Messenger
School Board Member Gina Messenger was among the crowd admiring the student artwork Monday.
“I couldn’t even begin to put a value on art class — that was always the class I looked forward to the most,” Messenger said. “It was always the light at the end of the tunnel when you had a tough day. It was invaluable.”
Manatee High School art teacher Robert Reiber said the gala fuels competition among his students every year. And he said gala attendees who got out-bid on a piece will sometimes commission that student to create a similar piece.
“They love the competition level, and we have great kids this year that are just really dedicated,” Reiber said.
The art will remains on display at the performing arts center through the event Saturday night. Anyone interested in attending the gala should call the Manatee Education Foundation at 941-251-4937.