"Muscle Project" by Keiry Lopez Perez. Photo by Sue Rollyson.

Last year saw the Roaring Fork High School (RFHS) annual student art show canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tradition has returned this year with the show featuring artwork from over 100 students.

From Monday, May 10, through Wednesday, May 12, the show displays work created throughout the school year by students under the guidance of fine and industrial arts staff Michael Black, Guinevere Jones and Leslie Keery.

Keery has been teaching art at RFHS since 2009. In her first year at RFHS, Jones splits her time teaching both art and English as a Second Language. She previously taught art at Basalt Middle School for 11 years.

Black, an industrial arts teacher and RFHS alumnus, will have many pieces in the show from students in his woodworking and shop classes. Black is the son of Larry, a retired and popular industrial arts teacher who worked at RFHS for over 30 years.

Woodworking pieces include cutting boards, tables, chairs and benches, of which Keery says, “There will be some stunning pieces on display.”

Keery noted, “This year, we also will have some capstone presentations in the art show. Because of COVID, it became the only way that [students] were going to be able to share what they were doing with the community.”

When the school year started with online schooling, Jones said, she and Keery spent a lot of time putting together individual packets of art supplies (sketchbooks, colored pencils, watercolors, etc.) for all students to pick up.

“Leslie and I both firmly believe that making is this innate need,” Jones told The Sopris Sun. “During the pandemic, I was hearing from students, ‘I have a lot of anxiety.’ They just didn’t feel excited about anything. As teenagers, normally, this is such a big time for outward growth and socializing. I think they needed art more than ever.”

Jones explained the challenges of teaching an art class online, saying, “there is a conversation that happens with students through that visual medium, so getting students to share things was hard. All of a sudden, they’re sharing, and there are 25 other people on the screen. It feels really vulnerable instead of when you’re just walking around a classroom and interacting and it’s more organic.”

RFHS student Keiry Lopez Perez has a piece in the show called a “muscle project” where she recreated the human muscle system of a hand, constructing it in “an artistic way.” She used colored pencils to illustrate muscles on a mannequin hand.

Lopez Perez, senior class president, will be attending Colorado State University after graduation. She wants to take art classes in college, noting the benefits. She said, “Taking an art class in high school has helped me a lot, especially with stress.”

Sophomore Morgan Kaegebein also has several pieces in the show produced for her jewelry/metalwork and fine art classes.

One of Kaegebein’s favorite projects was creating painting-like images onto paper using stamps. First, she carved designs into a linoleum block, creating three stamps, and then used those stamps in repeated patterns —”to just explore and keep adding” — creating the final work of art.

Her mother, Mindy, owns Kaegebein Design Groupe, an interior design firm. Kaegebein says that after high school, she would like to explore some form of art as a professional. “I like color and putting different things together and seeing how they work together. I just like to design types of things and artistic elements, so I will probably do something involving art.”

The RFHS annual student art show will be open to the public for viewing at the high school library from May 10 through May 12, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Attendees must sign in when entering and facemasks are required.