KISD Visual Art Show Feb. 24-28

Annual art show features student artists
By: Todd Martin
Eighth-graders in a high school-level visual art class work diligently with bright acrylic paint on a variety of landscapes.
Some of the young artists cluster in small groups and talk quietly as they dab their canvases. Others work alone, focused on an emerging painted scene.
Many of the student artists refer to a picture on their cell phone as they paint, while a few paint without visual aid, relying on memory or imagination.
Nolan Middle School art teacher Angela Morales circulates through the classroom giving hints, encouragement and validation to the young artists.
The acrylic landscapes from top Nolan artists will be part of the school’s entry in this year’s Killeen ISD visual art show, running the last week in February.
All the school district’s high schools and middle schools and a few elementary schools will fill the Killeen Civic and Conference Center with original student artwork. It all begins with a ceremonial opening at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 and continues daily through the week.
For Morales, a 23-year art teacher who has taught at elementary, middle and high school levels, the annual show is a highlight.
“It’s a good time for me to see former students,” she said. “It’s very rewarding.”
Now in her 18th year teaching at Nolan, the longtime art teacher said she finds the most satisfaction in observing students get excited about their own budding talent.
“They create something they thought they couldn’t do,” she said. “I don’t like ‘can’t.’ We don’t use that word in here.”
Focused on her landscape, eighth-grader Zoey Hurst applied a bright sky blue to her canvas. She didn’t use a picture for frame of reference. “I like painting,” she said. “I like doing something original. I just get an idea in my head and I don’t know how it will end up.”
At the end of February, residents will get a chance to wander through a large ballroom filled with the original artwork of students bursting forth that sort of creative flair.
“They can express themselves,” said Morales. “They need to express what they feel. Art is expression.” Some may not realize, the art teacher said, that art classes include reading and writing as well as doing the creative work.
For KISD’s art teachers, the visual art show is a chance for a reunion, to visit with colleagues and former students. “It’s very rewarding,” the Nolan teacher said, “especially hearing from students. They inspire me. Sometimes it makes me cry.”