The middle school’s art program took over the teen-friendly lower level of the Forest Park Public Library, Jan. 12, for a “Gallery Night” to showcase students’ work. With the first major snowfall of the year as a backdrop, the art show was organized by instructor Megan Supert. Artwork included pottery, paintings, small scrapbooks, and other projects by sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Although the school has held Gallery Nights in the past, this is the first time it has taken place under Supert’s direction. Though she previously taught in District 91 at Garfield Elementary School, she is new to her role as the middle school’s art teacher.

“It’s been wonderful,” Supert says, noting that her students already come from a “very rich” artistic background, thanks to their previous teachers. She focuses on helping them produce original images, based on their own personal interests, judging by the diverse pieces exhibited. Sports-related imagery and expressions of school pride like “Go Panthers!” were common, and many pieces included pop culture references, from Pokmon to Nicki Minaj.

Sixth-grader Olivia Mallett explained that her piece was assembled by cutting out cardboard shapes, painting them, then mounting them together. Seventh-graders Sophia Miller and Kirstin Hofmann, who had multiple pieces on display, both spoke enthusiastically about their work.

“I liked doing the booklet,” said Hofmann, referring to her scrapbook piece. Although Hofmann says she mostly only works on art projects assigned for her class, Miller sometimes does artwork independently.

In addition to the students whose work is on display, many middle school students attended the art show. Most were writing out evaluations assigned by their teachers for extra credit, but they appeared to be genuinely interested and appreciative of the students’ work. Pieces were marked with course names, including “Advanced Drawing and Painting” and “Exploratory Art,” and several were collaborative projects by multiple students.

Happy with how the Gallery Night turned out and how the art program as a whole is running, Supert said she is eager to organize similar exhibitions in the future. “Hopefully we’ll have one every trimester,” she said.

The artwork will remain on display for the next couple of weeks.