Check It Out: Seeing art, art and more art!

Brian Hughes | Special to the News Bulletin/USA TODAY NETWORK

CRESTVIEW — While local arts organizations have, sadly, come and gone, one stalwart supporter of the visual arts has always been available to share the community’s desire to appreciate art: Your friendly Crestview Public Library.

Among Crestview High School Art Show pieces on exhibit at the Crestview Public Library is  Alayna Canlas’s “Frog Burger,” which received the second-place ribbon in the clay sculpture category.
Among the paintings is Alea Keliinoi’s “Dinner,” which won Best of Show in the 2D category, and a blue ribbon in acrylic painting.

And during May, it has a surfeit of art on exhibit throughout the building.

The Crestview High School visual arts department is holding its annual spring art show at the library, and what a feast for the eyes it is!

A colorful exhibit of student artists’ 3D works greets Crestview Public Library patrons in the lobby.
Matty Bruning’s “Gothic Duck” earned an honorable mention for tempera painting.

“We are just thrilled to be able to do this this year,” art teacher Lori Phillips said. “We just don’t have the room at the school.”

The school’s art shows not only showcase the undeniable talents of Crestview High’s young artists, but also expose them to preparing their works for exhibition, displaying them in a public place, and undergoing a juried review of their pieces.

The experience prepares them for future visual arts experiences, whether they choose to become professional artists or continue to pursue their creative muses as a hobby.

“Insence,” a whimsical incense burner, and a slice of “Cherry Pie,” both by Mayah Stokes, can be seen — but not smelled or tasted — in a lobby display case at the Crestview Public Library.
Aidan Beaty won a first-place ribbon in drawing for his “Angry Lion.”
Alea Keliinoi won a blue ribbon for her charcoal drawing, “Under Wraps."

Past CHS art shows have been held in the school’s media center, which in the time of COVID-19, has been set up as a socially distanced place to study for and take tests.

Phillips said she and her co-art instructor Alex Pottinger were at first hesitant to ask about holding the show at the city library.

“When we asked if we could do it at the library, they said, ‘Yes! How about for the month of May?’” Phillips said. “We were so excited. In the past we could only have a two-day show.”

Pottery works on exhibit at the Crestview Public Library include Kimberly Zarate-Altamirano’s “Memory Stone” and Brayden Willoughby’s blue-ribbon-winning “Hippo.”
Emory Steadman’s “Mermaid” may have won third place in the tempera painting category, but creative use of the thick paint actually produced 3D dots of color on the subject’s body.

Now, when patrons visit the library, they will immediately encounter three-dimensional works in the lobby, including pottery, clay sculpture and a giant piece called “Lady in Brown” by Jessica Mayfield. The all-cardboard piece cradles “Terren,” a smaller figure created by Shayla Willis.

The assigned topics led to some interesting interpretations. Ceramic hamburgers, for instance, are anything but a mundane Whopper. Dalton Pickron’s blue-ribbon-winner “Mushroom Burger” even has a ‘shroom sprouting out of the top. Noah Schmied won Best of Show in the three-dimensional category for his “The Patched-Up Burger.”

In the two-dimensional category, Alea Keliinoi garnered Best of Show for her painting, “Dinner,” depicting a colorful fish about to be filleted by a sharp carving knife. Adding an authentic substrate, Alea painted the piece of a wooden kitchen carving board.

Other captivating works include a series of pottery whistles, including the whimsical “Mama and Baby Dog” by Lily LaSalle; and the fun “Frog Burger” by Alayna Canlas, which is crowned by a big amphibian wearing a dapper top hat.

Look for Robby Kopp’s stunning black and white, high-contrast photo “Silence” among a diverse collection of photography, and pieces in the colorful tempera painting group like Emory Steadman’s “Mermaid,” which uses the thick paint to create dimensional scales on the mermaid’s body.

And in a twist on an American classic, Matty Bruning takes a cue from Grant Wood’s 1930 “American Gothic” with his interpretation, “Gothic Duck,” in which the dour country farming couple depicted in the original now hold a yellow duck.

There’s more — much more — to explore along the Sandra Dreaden Gallery Wall and on freestanding panels set up in many of the library’s open spaces.

Monthly art exhibits by community artists, sculptors, wood workers and ephemera collectors are just one great reason to visit your Crestview Public Library, located at 1445 Commerce Drive.

To learn about all the library has to offer, visit www.cityofcrestview.org/178/Library, call 850-682-4432, and follow the library on Facebook and Instagram.

Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes is the City of Crestview's Public Information Officer.