Barbe has one of two A.P. art classes in LA

March 20, 2007

Reported by Pam Dixon

Barbe High advanced art students are hanging their final piece of art hours before their student art exhibit opens to the public. 17 year old Blake Soto says, "You have the freedom to choose your media, choose your focus."

11 students. More than 50 works of art. All from a class that almost didn't exist. Budget cuts almost forced the end to an advanced placement studio art class at Barbe before school even got started last year. But thanks to an outspoken art student and a letter to a newspaper editor, funding developed and so did the growth of some pretty impressive talent. 17 year old Taylor Clement wrote the letter that saved the program. Taylor says, "The feedback came and I was really surprised at how everybody reacted to it. But we got the program back and we're staying strong."

Now after seven months of demanding deadlines in a course that can earn them college credit, the students are ready for show and tell. Blake says, "I chose every different medium that I could think of. I work on trash, things I find around the room. I steal copper from cabinets inside our class and that's what I paint on." Taylor says, "Magazines will try to destroy women's self-esteem and sell it back to them one product at a time and so I wanted to expose that to my audience."

How they chose to express their talents is as individual as the students themselves. 18 year old Amber Billings says, "My grandma, she was in the ICU and the only way we could talk to her would be her squeezing our hand, so that's why I am showing emotion through hands." 17 year old Clint Conner says, "My grandpa, he had dementia. All my pictures have to deal with the mind and how it affects people."

You'll find plenty of passion and personality at this eye popping exhibit. The Barbe art exhibit is on display at the 1911 City Hall Arts and Cultural Center March 20 - April 5. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, March 20, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The show is part of the McNeese Banners Series.