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OAEA’s Young People’s Art Exhibit at Oklahoma City Community College

Narciso Arguelles

I remember my first student art exhibit while I was in high school. It was part of the Del Mar Fair in California and I won an honorable mention. Every artist remembers with pride, their first art show. It had a huge impact in my life. I felt like a real artist. The young artists must feel the same way in this year’s “Young People’s Art Exhibit”. The exhibit is put on by the Oklahoma Art Education Association (OAEA) which is an association of art teachers in Oklahoma. The process of putting together the exhibit is simple; art teachers bring their students art work from grade 1 to grade 12 to display in this yearly event. This year the exhibit was at Oklahoma City Community College Art Gallery from January to March 2019.

The art work is from all over the state of Oklahoma and varies in level of accomplishment. A small piece from Norman High School is one of the stand outs (See Figure 1). Artist Angel Pendley is from Norman High School. The On the labels there is no r space for a title or a listed medium. So Pendley’s piece has no titled and I would describe it as an illustration with pen and acrylic. It appears to be purple ball point pen and gold acrylic paint. It depicts a girl with a saintly halo. Small illustrations like these give an almost street art feel because of the ball point pen. It reminds me of casual drawings done on scrap paper by art students in math class. Knowing this is a teenager and the roughness of the art piece heightens the appeal for me. The cross hatching is competent and the aura or halo behind the main subject could be an after-thought or a quick solution for a missing background. Its simplicity could be because the size is about 12 inches X 12 inches. The use of complementary colors is a nice touch and the contrast of textures shows an understanding of art and design. 

There are a few more stand outs throughout the exhibit that go beyond the derivative nature of a lot of student art shows. The students are still learning so it in understandable. As an art teacher myself, I know the challenges the teachers go through as far as resources. Though overall, I was impressed by the level of art work and came away encouraged and genuinely pleased. 

Figure 1

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