What do butterflies, evil toast and “The Shining” have in common? They were all incorporated into art pieces at the Holland Project for their sixth annual Stranger Show on Friday, Oct. 25.
The Stranger Show is a program run collaboratively by Hug High School and the Nevada Museum of Art. High school art students are paired with local artists to create pieces under the theme of “strange.” All participants volunteer, so there is no selection process and the opportunity is open to the students’ interests, although most of the students involved are in AP art classes.
Jen Johanson, an art and design teacher at Hug High School, said students are given a unique opportunity to network with artists and develop their skills in ways they might not have been able to develop outside the classroom. She has been able to watch students refine their abilities and expand their artistic horizons over the years, but also with relationships with their mentors.
“There’s no other experience like it for students that I’ve ever seen,” Johanson said. “It gives them real-world connections outside of their education that they can use for the rest of their lifetime.”
Around 20 artists help the teenagers within the time frame of a month, and the Nevada Museum of Art provides the materials and space needed to complete the pieces. By the end of students’ work, their art is displayed at the Holland Project and a winner is chosen by a jury to win $100 gift certificates to the E.L. Cord Museum School at the Nevada Museum of Art and to Nevada Fine Arts, as well as guest passes to the museum.
Claire Munoz, director of the E.L. Cord Museum School, said her favorite part of the Stranger Show was watching the students grow in the program throughout the years. She said that most of the students that participate in the show continue their work in the art field later in life and that some even come back as mentors. She explained that the theme is “strange” so that students and artists alike will have to work outside of their comfort zone to facilitate their ideas.
“Strange is kind of this big concept,” Munoz said. “But it’s really like, ‘What is that relationship between these two people that don’t know each other,’ and now these kids have to bear it all to this stranger and then they have to work together.”
At the Stranger Show, attendees had a chance to show their appreciation of the art by voting for their favorite piece to be chosen for the audience award. The winner of that prize also receives $100 gift certificates to the museum school and Nevada Fine Arts with guest passes to the Nevada Museum of Art. Both Munoz and Johanson said that most students will return to art after the show is over, and they look forward to seeing what next year’s students will bring to the table.
The juror’s award went to student Dalia Quintana and artist Jessica White, while the honorable mentions were student Carlos Indo Lopez and artist Eric Santti, and Anahi Lopez and Amy Aramanda. The audience awards for this year went to student Lopez and Santti and second place went to student Irving Vargas and artist Summer Orr.
Samantha Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @SamRayJohnson.