Niles West junior hopes her art center will inspire

A junior at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, and a few friends from other area high schools opened their own art center in Morton Grove last week; they hope to inspire many students their age with beautiful works of art, Niles West News reports.

“I’ve been thinking about what I want to do,” the student newspaper quoted Sonja Bozic, one of the friends from Woodstock High School, as saying. She hopes to study at the Rhode Island School of Design. “I want to be an international art teacher, because I just want to inspire people and like show people art and show people how to express themselves through art.”

Billed as the largest collection of student art in the world, Artsonia is also a free, safe, educational program for students and families, as well as a comprehensive resource for art educators, including a production facility for keepsakes for the artwork that schools can use as a fundraiser. Jim Meyers, a co-founder and CEO of Artsonia, lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Millions of pieces of kids’ artwork are showcased and archived, and art teachers can join the gallery to submit student artwork or lesson plans.

In order to get the art center off the ground, students had to work their way through many obstacles, artistic and otherwise.

“In the past, I’ve sort of just gotten stuck in a rut, a little bit, where you really just keep creating art that’s all the same, and you want to just find your own style,” the paper quoted Paige Garland, the Niles West junior, as saying.

“But you just have to work through it.

“You find your stuff.

“And then —”

Students from Evanston Township High School and Lane Tech in Chicago are also part of the opening team.

“Honestly, I’ve been involved with art for less than a year. I’ve known Paige since kindergarten, but we just recently reconnected,” Lane Tech junior Madeleine Udelhofen was quoted as saying. “I was really inspired with the art that’s on her Instagram, so I decided to get back into art. I’ve been teaching myself and making mistakes, but that’s bound to happen.”

The effort has been worthwhile, Ms Garland said, referring in part to all the scheduling and micromanaging she has had to do in order to get students and teachers in place for the opening: “I’m really happy that this opening was successful and that people have been coming. I’m excited for what’s going to happen in the future.

“I want to open a space where artists can come to learn different things, work on their art, and even hold their own art galleries,” she added. “The reason behind the opening was to just get the space known.”

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.