Art for all ages

Link Art Gallery celebrates student works

Posted 5/2/23

A love of art is something that should be passed down from one generation to the next, and that is exactly what is happening in Edgar County.

The Link Art Gallery’s Annual Edgar County …

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Art for all ages

Link Art Gallery celebrates student works


A love of art is something that should be passed down from one generation to the next, and that is exactly what is happening in Edgar County.

The Link Art Gallery’s Annual Edgar County Student Art Show showcased artwork from both junior and senior high school students throughout the county during April. The display featuring both two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork closed Sunday, April 24, with an awards ceremony.

“Now each one of you can say that you have had your artwork displayed in an art gallery in Paris,” said Susan Stafford, executive director of the Link Art Gallery, as the presentation program started. “I’ve been doing this job for 18 years and every year the art continues to come in and show me something new. I am always amazed by what these young people can create and how well they can express themselves.”

She was joined in the room by a crowd of parents, grandparents, students and teachers who gathered to congratulate and commend the young artists. Pride of accomplishment was visible on every face.

Addy Reel was luminous while describing the mixed media art she created for the exhibit. A sophomore at Paris Cooperative High School, Reel does not consider herself an artist but explained she enjoys the ability to express her personality and what she loves in a piece of art.

She described her pearl and glitter covered art project as something that is full of the things she loves. Her father confirmed Reel is his glitter girl.

Shiloh High School student Mollie Pollock’s entry completed a circle. When Pollock was in fourth grade she drew a monster for a Shiloh senior to sculpt in art class, and those positions reversed this school year. 

Pollock took on the role of sculptor for a third grade student. Lovingly named “Blobby Monster” by its younger creator, the sculpted likeness of an elementary student’s green monster drawing won the second-place ribbon in the 3-D category at the art show and fulfilled a childhood dream for the high school senior who will graduate in a matter of days.

Her mother, and Shiloh school district art instructor, Randi Pollock, called it a true, full-circle moment as she watched a beloved tradition from her classroom become an iconic memory in her daughter’s life.

Ayden Bodine, a Crestwood Junior High School student, had artwork displayed alongside his twin brother Alex, and he encouraged his younger brother Liam’s involvement by asking him to name his ceramic piece.

The sculpted and painted piece now named “Wally, the Walrus” created by Ayden Bodine has inspired the youngest Bodine brother, Liam, to begin working on his art skills in preparation for his own debut at the Link Art Gallery. According to the younger boy, his entry will not be a walrus while anticipating something funny and cool.   

The judge of the art show, Diana Hines, who gave a judge’s choice award to “Wally, the Walrus” and several other pieces, admits that being involved with this event feels much more like an honor than a task.

Her first exposure to art was a high school engineering class that allowed her to pick up a pencil and draw. The love of drawing she discovered in that class pushed her to study art at Indiana State University and created a lifelong love of creativity she now shares with others.

Each one of the students entering pieces in the student art exhibit showcased the ability to express themselves, their individual interests and even their goals for the future. From sketches depicting tears and deeply felt emotions, to colorful renderings of cherished family pets and hand sculpted character creatures filled with imagination, each piece of art displayed at the 2023 Edgar County Student Art Show filled viewers with delight and excitement.

 “I'm just so proud of each one of them,” said Mayo Middle School Art teacher Millie Arp as she points out each piece done by her students.

Arp is filled with gratitude when her students return to art class, and she gets to watch them grow year after year. It excites her that a love of art and personal expression is nurtured and encouraged by supporters of the schools and the community.

Patrons of the art like Diana Hines, teachers Millie Arp, Mary Magee, Randi Pollock and soon to retire executive director of the Link Art Gallery Susan Stafford all agree that seeing art supported by the community helps them to feel secure in the future of the Link Art Gallery as well as the discovery of future talents within the community for generations to come.