APS art students get their chance to shine, creatively

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AURORA | Students across Aurora Public Schools are getting their chance to show off their artistic side.

The school district’s annual Festival of the Arts is up and running at the Town Center at Aurora. The 13-day exhibit of more than a thousand pieces of student-produced art for each school in APS is spread across two floors of the mall. APS students also took over a storefront near the JC Penney store to display their 3D art.

The exhibit opened on April 10 and runs through April 22.

Angie Willsea is an art teacher at Vista PEAK Preparatory and the coordinator of the show. She said the pieces on display are chosen by art teachers from across the district and reflect the work students have done throughout the year.

“The students are so excited when they find out their work will be in the show. Most teachers will give them a little post card letting them know they’ve been chosen. It’s just amazing the pride they show at being chosen. It’s impressive,” Willsea said. “To see that smile go from ear to ear is great. It’s a great sense of accomplishment for the students and also for the teachers. When they get to see the panels from their schools put together, it’s a real sense of accomplishment for them as well.”

Willsea said the exhibit isn’t just a great chance for students to get recognition for the work they do throughout the school year it also gives the community an inside look into the work that goes on across APS.

“It’s important for people to see what’s being done in the district. There’s so much talent that goes into the show. There’s a lot of time and energy from both the students and teachers. I think it’s important that people can honor that,” Willsea said. “And it’s an easily accessible show as well. A lot of people are already going to the mall or in that area so it’s easy to access it. They can see a lot of awesome stuff for not a lot of energy.”

The relationship between APS and the Town Center at Aurora has been a great benefit for the students, said Willsea. Instead of an exhibit at each school which might be attended by a small group of family and friends, the students get to display their art in about as public of a place as you can get outside of an art gallery. And APS gets to pick over a thousand works of art to display given the size of the mall.

Along with the art on display, the exhibit will end on April 22 with an APS talent show. Willsea said in the past, the talent show has featured singing groups, dance troupes and step teams.

Throughout the exhibit, art teachers along with other experts will judge the art on display. The best art will be recognized on April 29 during a separate event.