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Hyde shines light on area high school students — April 16

Twenty-eighth annual High School Juried Show runs through June 2

GLENS FALLS, New York — The artwork that moved juror Katie Chwazik the most was an image that ultimately was not selected for The Hyde Collection’s twenty-eighth annual High School Juried Show.

The photograph — one of more than 600 works submitted by students in nineteen area school districts — was of a gun control rally outside Empire State Plaza.

“There were some technical and compositional issues that needed to be worked out, but it seemed like that student had that ‘light bulb’ moment, when he or she said, ‘Hey, this is why this matters,’ ” said Chwazik, a middle school art teacher in Niskayuna School District. “It’s about that moment when kids see that art is valuable and worth their time, when they can see that they can have a voice, that they can put an opinion into the world and make a difference.”

Chwazik is one of three jurors on a panel to select artwork for the annual exhibition at The Hyde Collection. Chwazik is an educator and artist whose House and Home is exhibited at Nine Pin in Albany through May 26.

Amy Stevens, a graphic designer and creative director at SUNY Adirondack, and Corey Pitkin, a prominent regional artist, art instructor, and information technology specialist, round out the panel for the High School Juried Show, which opens Saturday, May 4, and runs through Sunday, June 2.

The three judges said the semifinalists stood out because they went above just fulfilling an assignment.

“Everyone can draw a still life, but when you have a unique take on that, I think that’s where it’s interesting,” Stevens said. “A few went above and beyond and had an opinion, were unique and put themselves in the work.”

The Hyde Collection’s High School Juried Show has become the gold standard for many regional high school art students. Teachers say students work on certain pieces throughout the year, with the goal of submitting them for consideration.

It’s important for students to go through the adjudication process, said Jenny Hutchinson, the Museum’s curator of education and programming.

“Preparing artworks for judging and, hopefully, exhibition; photographing them; writing about them — these are all critical skills aspiring artists need to develop,” she said.

The process is a teaching moment, even for the students whose artwork isn’t chosen.

“Being a working artist, you’re going to have to deal with rejection pretty frequently,” Pitkin said. “It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good artist, it doesn’t mean you won’t get in the next show, or that it was a bad piece. It just means it didn’t resonate with the jurors that day.”

The three-juror panel saw all the submissions digitally, graded them using a rubric, and narrowed the field to semifinalists. Then, the jurors performed a live adjudication, examined each artwork at The Hyde Collection and selected the finalists.

All three judges noted the proliferation of photography and a lack of graphic design.

“There were only four submissions and there were 200 photographs submitted, and hundreds of paintings and drawings,” noted Stevens, the graphic designer. “I was shocked by that.”

Chwazik and Pitkin, too — a printmaker and painter, respectively — were surprised by the number of photographic submissions.

“It really seems to be a large focus,” Pitkin said. “I don’t know if it’s the kids themselves, or if the teachers are directing them, but there’s some very impressive photography there.”

Each year, artwork submitted to the High School Juried Show makes the jurors’ jobs difficult.

“There is an incredible amount of talent, passion, and dedication in our region’s schools,” Hutchinson said. “The teachers work tirelessly to inspire and guide their students, and those students really pour themselves into these projects.”

The hard work is evident in the art submitted.

“Music has NYSSMA, athletes have every game they get to participate in. This is where artists and art students get to show off their talent and be recognized for what they’re doing,” Stevens said. “Art is not just an elective you can take, or something you can do in your free time. You can have a career doing this.”

The High School Juried Show is sponsored by SUNY Adirondack, which will provide posters for the finalists, and five $250 scholarships for each of three judge’s awards, a Curator’s Choice, and a Best in Show.