Art Club members hope to share their work

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Art Club members hope to share their work

The Art Club members share their sketches over a box of cookies.

The Art Club members share their sketches over a box of cookies.

The Art Club members share their sketches over a box of cookies.

The Art Club members share their sketches over a box of cookies.

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With five to ten students at each meeting, the Parkway West Art Club is one of the smallest clubs at school. Founded last year by junior Ellie Ecker and graduate Marilyn Ransin, Art Club was created on the basis of sharing art and encouraging artistic growth.

“It all started when my freshmen history teacher Mr. Hermann told us that there was an after school activity for everyone. When I told him there was no Art Club, he jokingly told me to make one, or he’d fail me. I took it to heart though there was no real threat. Over the summer, I emailed several leaders of art clubs in other schools. I emailed my counselor and the activities director and had the club approved, and Mrs. Dunsworth graciously offered to fill the position of sponsor teacher,” Ecker said.

Art Club meets every other Tuesday in art teacher Peggy Dunsworth’s room. A new theme is introduced at each meeting; these themes are broad and widely-interpreted, yet they are still enough to push members outside of their comfort zones.

“Art Club has motivated me to pursue different pieces and encouraged me to show my art to others and ask for advice. I’ve never considered myself as artistic at all until I joined and started drawing on a regular basis. You don’t have to be the next Picasso to join Art Club. It’s fun and casual, and we welcome all new members. We don’t bite,” junior Olivia Poppen said.

Artists have two weeks to complete their piece at home. At meetings, students share their art while eating snacks and receiving feedback from others.

“I joined Art Club because art is one of my very few passions. It’s an amazing way to socialize with more people who have the same passion as myself. The best part is the inspiration that sparks from seeing other talented artists and their artwork,” sophomore Lueking Knabe said.

Through adapting to both the successes and disappointments of the previous year, the club has more than doubled in size.

“Last year, we were probably too strict. We didn’t even consider sketchbooks, but encouraged full art pieces based on complex themes. This discouraged many from coming due to the time commitment. We lost members and shrunk to a frighteningly small group. This year, the themes are more natural, and expectations have shifted to focus on sketches. We’ve completed several pieces already, including surrealism, political statements, body art and character-making. These themes are meant to help us expand our skills or to simply have fun with interesting concepts. All in all, the club this year is worlds better than the rag-tag group we had last year. I look forward to next year’s turnout,” Ecker said.

Although Art Club has grown since last year, it still has very few members that come to every meeting. Members face a small showing at meetings, often without enough sketches to present for a gallery walk.

“We make it work. The small group allows me to get to know everyone in the club and respond to individual preferences. The comfortable atmosphere is nice for sharing art, a relatively tough topic to get people to open up with. A small group also allows us to be versatile, share responsibilities and discuss themes. A small group is fine, but I would love to include more people and thus more art. The more people that come, the greater the ideas and better the products. We would love to get twenty members, and we’re on our way to that goal already,” Ecker said.

No dates are set yet, but the Art Club plans to have a sketchbook art walk later in the semester, at either The Stone Soup Gallery at the Chesterfield Mall or in the art department.

“Hopefully, the gallery will host us, and we’ll be able to show our sketchbooks for a public viewing and have a small reception. This is the big goal of the semester, and we look forward to sharing our art,” Ecker said.

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