Middle school art show features promising work

By Page H. Gifford

This year’s crop of middle school art students produced some outstanding work for the annual Arts Festival held Saturday (May 4).

The students showed skill in execution and imagination in their projects. Many of the 3D pieces demonstrated the students’ abilities to construct complex forms and learn precision in drawing and painting.

“This year’s group demonstrates great skill and talent,” said art teacher Margie Kritzer. “In fact, there were many different winners among fifth and sixth graders, suggesting that the talent runs deep in those grades.” The judges from the Fluvanna Art Association noted several striking seventh grade students who won multiple awards, showing consistency and promise.

Sydney Derrickson’s Fruity won first in the seventh grade 3D category. Shetook on a classic subject, a bowl of fruit, emulating a French impressionist painting come to life with bright bold colors.

“Sydney will enjoy the title of ‘biggest winner’ with four blue ribbons and one red ribbon. Her second-place Contrast-O design does not disappoint with clean lines and clever composition,” said Kritzer.

Taylor Webber showed humor with her chicken nuggets made out of brown paper, tumbling out of her hand-painted Chick-Fil-Abox. Brooke Christian’s Carmextube hanging from the ceiling was an eye-catching bright yellow. Brooke Gowans showed skill in her assembly of Patrick.


“Taylor’sChick-Fil-A replica is excellently executed and bound to start conversations. Hannah Hunt’s Snapcodeis a large 3D replica of her own Snapchat avatar, and it features a mask cast of her own face,” Kritzer said.

“Brooke Gowan’s 3D Patrick construction includes a variety of 3D building techniques, many of which Brooke figured on her own,” said Krtizer. The masks the kids create are always interesting, but judges agreed that Karissa Baber’s Wonxwas exceptionally well done with good attention to detail in the construction of the wolf’s features and her painting techniques.

“Karissa Baber’s mask is a perfect example of the way Karissa has always sought to use skills above and beyond the classroom experience to present solutions that are far more sophisticated than most students her age,” her teacher said. Kritzer likes to recognize when students give extra effort, execution and creativity.

Many showed exceptional style in their drawings and nailed the concepts they were taught.

“Ivan Becerra’s two winning projects, his 3D word drawing and Hidden Wordprint, show exceptional craftsmanship, which is typical of his style,” Kritzer said.

The students’ art exhibited a departure from the same look of years past. Kritzer attributed this to her push to put more homemade step-by-step tutorials online in Google classroom. She said not all students are able to attend class on demonstration days, but felt those students deserved to enjoy the benefit that live demonstrations offer.

This year’s daily access to Chromebooks has assisted Kritzer in her goal of upgrading the seventh grade program to a project-based independent study, offering many options beyond the required projects where students work at their own pace and ability level. This helps them to build on the specific skills learned in fifth and sixth grade.

“I created slideshows for each project, featuring middle school student art projects dating back as far back as 2004,” she said. “These images scroll before and during the project’s creation, inviting students to see solutions of the past for inspiration and evaluation.”

Every art teacher hopes their students leave the classroom with skills that can be applied to creating art as well as other areas of life.

“I hope that any student who attends an art class at Fluvanna Middle School leaves with the confidence needed to successfully master the skills on which we focus,” Kritzer said. “I truly believe that all of my students can succeed – they need only to ‘just do it,’ as the banner in the front of my classroom has encouraged since I printed it in 1996.”



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