Polk Museum Of Art Showcasing Student Art Through Virtual Exhibit
by James Coulter
The COVID-19 crisis may have closed the museum until further notice, but that hasn’t stopped them for showcasing the choicest artwork of students from local schools.
From now until September, the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland will be showcasing selections from the Polk County High School Fine Art Competition, with more than 60 art pieces created by students from Polk County schools, through a virtual gallery on their website.
The virtual exhibition can be accessed by visiting the Polk Museum of Art website and clicking on the “Our Finest” link, which will take guests to a virtual gallery where they can view up to 60 distinct pieces from local schools.
The exhibit will be showcasing artwork for their annual student exhibition, which was originally scheduled to be displayed in the George Jenkins Student Gallery at the museum. However, the current pandemic and stay-at-home order has forced the museum, as with other local businesses and institutions, to close until further notice.
Ellen Chastain, Education Manager at the Polk Museum of Art, mentioned that the idea for the virtual exhibit was inspired a week after the museum was closed. As most of the art exhibits had already been photographed for posterity, the idea was to display these facsimiles online for the general public during the current situation, she explained.
“So after going home and working from home, we went through our exhibition material,” she said. “We had already taken photographs of all these pieces already, and so that allowed us the ability to put it online.”
The artwork within the exhibit were curated through a countywide juried competition among various local schools, created through a partnership among the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, the Polk Arts Alliance, Polk County Schools, and the Polk Museum of Art.
More than 300 pieces were entered into the competition from public, private, and home-schooled students. Of the artwork entered, 60 were rewarded and selected to be displayed within the exhibit.
These art pieces were judged in various categories. The top category was Polk County Commissioners Award, in which the winning piece will be displayed within in the Polk County Board of County Commission Building for a year.
The Polk County Commissioners Award was conferred to “Entrapment”, a digital art piece depicting a heron with a fresh fish snared in its beak. This award-winning piece was created by Elizabeth Summers, a ninth grader from Ridge Community High School, instructed by Casey Hall.
“It is a really impressive group of students and talent for Polk County Schools,” Chastain said. “A lot of people will be impressed by what is here. Granted, it is not as personable as being in the gallery itself, seeing the art pieces up close, but this is certainly a great opportunity for us to make this virtual and accessible to everybody.”
To view the virtual exhibit, click read: https://polkmuseumofart.org/our-finest-2020