Ashland Alliance

Extension program promotes students’ art

GREENUP, Ky. — The new artwork on Greenup optometrist Bradley Morris’ office wall is easily distinguishable from the framed poster-size prints of models wearing designer glasses.

JaLeigh Gumbert, a Raceland-Worthington High School senior, holds her art, “All Eyes on Art.” Its focal point is an eye, to be sure. The eye is green with flecks of yellow and strands of black radiating from the pupil. It glistens with delicately applied highlights. From there its resemblance to a real eye veers toward the surreal.

The eye floats over low bleak hills in a late-afternoon-blue sky with a cloud where the brow would be and a basket under it hanging from suspension lines.

The artist is JaLeigh Gumbert, a Raceland-Worthington High School senior, and she made the painting for a new Greenup Extension Arts Council project called — no coincidence — “All Eyes on Art.”

The project aims at getting exposure to youthful artists in the county’s three school districts, and also to art programs in the schools, said arts extension agent Anne Stephens.

Gumbert, Stephens and Gumbert’s art teacher Mark Villinger all gathered at Morris’ office Thursday to unveil the piece, which is the first of many Stephens hopes will eventually hang in area offices.

Gumbert used colored pencils and acrylic paints, her preferred media, to make the picture, the concept for which grew from discussions she had with Villinger. “He threw out some ideas but they were too boring and I had to throw something into it so I said, what about a balloon,” she said.

Villinger called the final product “Daliesque,” and said Gumbert has proven her talent in the three years she has been in his art classes.

“Once she figures out what she is going to do, she takes off with it,” he said.

Working with students who have potential is why schools need strong arts programs, he said.

And that is what the project hopes to underscore, according to Stephens. “When we can get student art outside the school so more people can see it, the public will see what’s going on in school. It’s kind of a window into the school,” she said.

Hanging the piece in his office is his way of supporting local schools and students, Morris said. “We have a lot of talent in Greenup County. Our students have a lot to offer. Anytime we can put them on display it will encourage them,” he said.

Stephens hopes to call on more student artists and place other pieces in area offices. Morris said he has room on his walls for more.


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