Student artwork on display at Uncle Jon’s in Marion

May 22, 2023

MARION — Visitors to Uncle Jon’s in Marion will find more than coffee — they’ll find artwork made by Old Rochester Regional High School art students. 

Until June 7, the work of 13 young artists will hang on the walls of the coffee shop to “honor and celebrate the work of the advanced art students,” said Old Rochester Regional High School Art Teacher Kate Butler. 

Student work ranged from two-dimensional drawings, digital artwork, collage, textiles and mixed media. 

“Students are given the choice of whatever material they'd like to use,” said Butler. “It's really up to what the student wants to explore and develop.”

According to Butler, students in Advanced Placement Art were tasked with asking and then answering a question through their artwork. 

“It's a personal exploration where they decide what they want to be making art about [and] what materials they want to be making art with,” said Butler. “Then they work through the assignments using those parameters.”

Lizzie Higgins, a senior at Old Rochester Regional High School, answered the question of how she can relate nature to humans. 

In her piece “The World We Create,” Higgins knit together different colors and weights of yarn to create a two-dimensional Earth. 

“The Earth that I have is a bunch of different stitches making up the world's diversity,” she said.

Another piece, “Nature’s Jewel,” is “a criticism on what society deems [to be] beautiful,” said Higgins. “And so ‘Nature's Jewel’ is a play on materialism and natural beauty.”

Even though Higgins ascribes meaning to her artwork, she said that it’s still up to the viewer’s interpretation.

“Especially with mixed media, there's so much that the media itself portrays compared to a pencil drawing,” she said. “So it's definitely up for interpretation.

Sophomore Hailee Ducharme, AGE, started making artwork in December 2019.

“That was when I really started opening up to different things,” said Ducharme. “I got my first art kit and really started to sit down and enjoy the process of drawing.”

Ducharme’s artwork is inspired by the fantasy genre. 

“I went from a lot of realistic pieces in the beginning of the year to a lot of more fantasy and cartoonish pieces,” said Ducharme. “I just started to realize that I didn’t like the realistic side of things … it just wasn’t my forte … I didn’t enjoy the process at all.”

Ducharme’s piece “Foreshadows” depicts the map of a fantasy world. Five smaller islands surround a large central land mass. Each Island is populated with cities and natural features like rivers and mountains. 

In Advanced Placement classes, students take a final exam presented by the College Board. A passing score can earn students college credits. 

According to Butler, students submit a portfolio of artwork to the College Board that is graded on art and design skills, and evidence of relationships between materials, artistic processes and ideas. 

Senior art student Jed Dupree, who was awarded with a “Golden Key” in a state-wide art competition, displayed three paintings in the exhibit. 

His piece “The Great Goat,” which is on display at Uncle Jon’s, helped secure him that award. 

The piece, painted in oil, depicts a large horned goat standing under a farming scythe hanging on a yellow clapboard wall. 

“I was working with my friend once at this farm and I just saw this really big goat,” said Dupree. “And I was just like, ‘that's amazing.’ I just loved the goats, I think they're so cool. If you're looking for any deeper, meaning there's not really much, I just think it’s aesthetically pleasing to look at.”

He said that his classmates are a source of inspiration. 

“Everyone in the class inspires me every day to push forward,” said Dupree. “I love all of them. They're all the nicest people I've ever met.”