TRAVERSE CITY — Art is more than just another subject in school for many students.
Ashley Smith, a Traverse City Central High School senior, said art is an outlet through which she can to express her emotions.
“I’m not very good with my words, so it’s easier to just put it on paper,” she said.
Smith’s work and dozens of other pieces of art will be on display during “ArtPrize Central,” which kicks off with a community open house at the high school today.
The art show is organized by Central’s chapter of National Art Honor Society, but Clare Sorace, who heads the chapter with Smith, said the school’s entire art department contributes to the effort.
Students from Central’s Advanced Placement Studio Art class hung watercolors, prints and other works on display in the school’s library Wednesday afternoon in advance of the show’s opening.
Sorace and Smith had their own paintings to pin up as they prepared for the month-long art show, which is modeled after Grand Rapids’ annual “ArtPrize” competition. Sorace’s paintings were part of a series she called “Loss of Innocence,” while Smith dubbed hers “Similarities Between Humans and Animals.”
Central art teacher Amy Harper said ArtPrize Central isn’t limited to students’ work, either.
“Anyone from staff, to alumni, to current students can put something on display, so it’s a really broad view of people expressing themselves,” Harper said.
The show’s open house starts with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Guests also can watch the last hour of an “Art-Off,” which starts at 3 p.m.
The Art-Off gives student artists working in different mediums exactly three hours to create a piece of art. Harper said the resulting art will be auctioned off with proceeds to benefit Central’s art department.
The open house also includes live music and professional parent-artists judging the works on display.
Students and community members can vote for their favorite pieces throughout the show, with cash prizes available for winning artists.