Jacksonville High School puts student art in focus

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published February 10, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated February 8, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Curt Youngblood

Nicky Grandison works on a charcoal drawing during Marvin Lindley’s art class at Jacksonville High School. Grandison is one of several students who will have work featured in an upcoming art show.

For the Love of the Arts

Jacksonville High School Art students will have their work featured in the second "For The Love of the Arts" show on Feb. 11. (By Curt Youngblood)
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— When Marvin Lindley was asked to design a floor plan for Jacksonville High School’s renovated media center, he only had one question: Could the center include an art gallery?

Lindley has been teaching art classes at the school since 1987, and he believes strongly in the talent of his students.

“People are surprised at the work anytime we take it out in public,” Lindley said. “People cannot believe it’s done by high school students.”

On Monday, the school’s fine arts department will present its second For the Love of the Arts show, kicking off at 6 p.m. in the high school media center. The free event is open to the public and will include band and choir performances, along with refreshments.

More than 30 pieces of artwork by Jacksonville High School

students will be on display. In a nod to February being Black History Month, all of the art on display will be by African-American students or focus on an aspect of African-American culture, Lindley said.

“Last year, we had more than 100 people come to the event, including the mayor,” Lindley said.

The art will remain on display in the media center for the rest of the month and be available for viewing during school hours.

When the media center was renovated, Lindley got his wish for a gallery area. Toward the back of the center, two large bulletin boards hold rotating displays of what Lindley considers the standout work of his students throughout the year. The space also includes his JHS Art Wall of Fame, with name plaques for students who meet Lindley’s criteria.

“They have to win a state competition or multiple awards, score a 4 or 5 on an AP Art portfolio and get a scholarship in art,” Lindley said.

On the wall, there are more than 100 names, spanning Lindley’s entire career at the school.

The wall of fame is the highest level in a set of small goals that Lindley sets for his students. First is to create a piece good enough to display on the back wall of the art room, then to get it in the media center and, finally, to an exhibit or competition.

“It really motivates them,” Lindley said. “We also sell our students’ work, and not cheaply. We want them to get a good price for the work they do.”

His students’ work generally sells for no less than $150 and has gone for as high as $350 at exhibitions. All the money goes to the student artist.

Junior Jessica Harris hasn’t yet sold a piece, but Lindley expects that an intricate colored-pencil drawing of a vintage truck she recently finished will go quickly.

“The detailed grass and sky were really the hardest parts,” said Harris, who took weeks to finish the work.

Junior Bryant Carter was pleasantly surprised when a portrait of a young child he did ended up on the invitations and flyers for Monday’s show. Both Carter’s portrait and Harris’ drawing are what Lindley calls “challenge drawings.”

“They won’t know what to do next, and I’ll see that they need to stretch their skills, so I’ll bring them a photo and tell them to work through it,” Lindley said.

Carter’s charcoal portrait took him several months to finish. Although his work has been on the wall in the art room before, Monday will be Carter’s first show.

“I’m nervous,” he said. “I want to make sure people like what I do.”

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or emily@syncweekly.com.

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