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South Valley Journal

Virtual middle school art show has more participants, more viewers than ever

Jun 24, 2020 03:08PM ● By Julie Slama

This year, more viewers could appreciate Jordan School District middle school art show because entries can be seen virtually on Instagram. (Screenshot)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

This year’s Jordan School District middle school art show perhaps has reached more viewers from all over the world than ever before.

That’s because the show went viral—virtually.

“We had a Zoom meeting with art teachers in our district, and we put the idea out there to hold it virtually,” Mountain Creek Middle art teacher Jodie Milad said. “The teachers wanted to try to do it, to hold some normalcy. We’ve put up as many students’ pieces as possible, to showcase their hard work.”

Milad teaches ceramics and painting but said she was impressed by entries from all the middle schools.

There were entries using different techniques, drawn in pencil or pen, painted in acrylics or watercolors, items made from cardboard and other recycled materials as well as created in wood and clay.

“I’m so proud of kids from all the schools,” she said. “The work is beyond what is expected from many for this age group. Some students already had their work submitted by mid-March; some teachers selected from what they did during the year. Art is therapeutic, and kids can express themselves. This is a traumatic time; their anxiety can spike, but the work they do can showcase how they’re feeling and given them a way to express their talent. They should be proud of what they created and accomplished.”

The show has no theme, so students could enter any classwork or artwork on their own. Posting students’ names were optional.

Organizers said there were positive aspects in hosting an online show: more students’ work could be submitted since there wasn’t a restriction on physical space; visitors could view the art at any time that was convenient; and everyone got to be part of the show instead of only those that were selected.

There are 170 middle school art submissions.

While the teachers didn’t know if the different venue or avenue would attract attention, the initial feedback was great, said Norman Emerson, Jordan School District’s fine arts consultant.

“The show has grown over the past few weeks, and it has captured what we want to do—to showcase our students’ artwork,” he said. “I hope any student, not just art students, have worked with teachers to submit their work.”

Originally, the middle school art show was scheduled for two weeks, April 24–May 8, at the Viridian Center.

The high school art show, which featured 105 submissions, also was done virtually.

“Some students may be disappointed as they work toward the art show and want their work to be judged top notch, but this has opened it up to a much larger audience; there are comments worldwide,” he said. “We’ve probably had more people see the art shows than those who stroll by it at the Viridian Center.”

Emerson said he would like to return to the library venue in upcoming years, but he won’t look past keeping a virtual show as well.

“The virtual show is a good thing,” he said. “It really has been positive with a lot of great, insightful posts. People are supportive and are amazed at the work of our students. Having this platform and those words of encouragement can be powerful in a students’ lives.”