Student artworks at Thunder Bay Arts Gallery | News, Sports, Jobs

News photo of Darby Hinkley Avery Bates, 13, stands next to her lip painting, which is now on display at the Thunder Bay Arts Council Gallery until spring alongside other student artwork.

ALPENA – Avery Bates feels comfortable sharing her artwork with the public.

“It’s exciting,” Bates said of her artwork in a public art gallery. “I didn’t think people really liked my art. It was just something I did for fun. But once it came out, I realized I’m pretty good at it.”

The 13-year-old’s lip and nose painting is one of 30 student artworks on display at the Thunder Bay Arts Council Gallery on Chisholm Street in downtown Alpena.

“I used acrylic paint,” she said of the lip liner. “It was just something I did in my spare time.”

She explained why she likes to paint.

“I think it’s really relaxing,” Bates said. “I like to see the paint flow on the canvas. I like the product after you’re done. It’s just a fun hobby.”

Bates, an eighth grader at Thunder Bay Junior High, also had a piece in last year’s student show.

“We’re really proud of her,” said Bates’ mother, Jessica Eller. “Every day she gets better. It just amazes us. It’s really fun to see her talent grow.”

“I give my art teacher, Mr. K., a lot of props,” Avery Bates said. “He helped me a lot. He’s just a great guy.”

She refers to Kyle Kieliszewski, art teacher at TBJH.

“It gives her vision, her personal expression, a public way to get others to think,” Kieliszewski said of the exhibition of the student’s work. “It also lets them know their voice will be heard.”

He said seeing her work in the midst of a gallery full of professional artwork is a definite confidence booster.

“It’s a statement of the quality of their own personal ability,” he added. “Thunder Bay Arts Council is a phenomenal organization that is sorely needed. I am so thankful to them. They present and showcase the work of local students as best they can.”

Keyon Harvey, 12, also has his artwork on display at TBA Gallery.

“This was one of my superhero projects,” he said of his artwork. “I was pretty proud of it because it looked nice.”

His piece is a drawing of cityscapes with another paper superhero glued to the cityscape, “making it look like the superhero and the villain are fighting,” Harvey said.

The sixth year said, “The good guy is a futuristic cop-like persona, and the bad guy is modeled after Thanos,” an alien villain from Marvel. “I like to draw cityscapes and use my creativity to make things. I would also like to try new elements, like painting.”

Meaghan Black, Assistant Principal at TBJH, said it was a wonderful opportunity to put the spotlight on students for their hard work.

“I think it’s really important for the kids to see that their art is really art,” Black said, adding that it inspires confidence in the students. “We love exhibiting in schools, but to showcase it in the community is very special.”

Black is grateful for Kieliszewski’s work with the students.

“Kudos to Kyle because he’s really expanded our art program over the past few years,” said Black. “They really produce art. He really showed them the process.”

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