ELYRIA - Confirming yet again that art is alive and well in the region, the 51st annual Lorain County Region Scholastic Art Exhibit is open through Feb. 22 at Lorain County Community College's Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery.
The showing draws works from public, parochial and private middle and high schools from Lorain, Erie and Huron counties.
"When students get into this show, they're just so excited," Stocker Arts Center operations coordinator Beth Bryan said. "It's just a completely different kind of award because it's not at their school. It's at a college, and it's open to the public.
"Year after year, I'm astounded at the artwork that comes from these young people. It's phenomenal. If you didn't know that it was middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, you might not think that."
Art teachers this year entered more than 1,600 original works with professional judges choosing up to 800 pieces to be hung salon-style in the Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery in the College's Stocker Art Center.
The categories include architecture, ceramics, glass, comic art, design, digital, drawing, illustration, editorial cartoon, fashion design, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, video game design and senior portfolio.
"Professional artist, who are not teachers and have no connection to these students, are the judges, so there's no favoritism going on," Bryan said.
The art is judged on the following criteria - originality, technical skill and emergence of a personal vision or voice. The award levels include the Gold Key and second place Silver Key, as well as honorable mentions and five best-in-show American Vision awards. Also, the Gold Key works advance to national jurying in New York City. The Gold Key and awards ceremony takes place at 1 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Elyria gallery.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the exhibit, the Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery is open extended hours through the run including 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and 1 to 3 p.m. Sundays.
Another activity to avoid cabin fever this winter and spring is the Stocker Arts Center's Winter/Spring Film Series, which takes place on periodic Fridays in Hoke Theatre.
Lorain County Community College humanities professor emeritus Robert Dudash said the film series offers 16 to 18 films annually attracting an average of 4,000 students and community members each year.
The upcoming schedule includes "My Name is Khan" (7:30 p.m. Friday), "You Can Count of Me" (7:30 p.m. Feb. 8), "The Bélier Family (La Famille Bélier)" (7:30 p.m. Feb. 22), "Evelyn" (7:30 p.m. March 1), "Puzzle" (7:30 p.m. March 8), "What They Had" (7:30 p.m. March 29), "Shoplifters" (7:30 p.m. April 19) and "Cinema Paradiso" (7:30 p.m. April 26).
"As part of Lorain County Community College's community outreach, the film series provides access to quality films typically found only at art cinemas," Dudash said. "The LCCC Film Series has been delivering artistic, worldly and thought-provoking films to students and the community since 1966.
"The Film Series is an alternative cinema, the one venue in Lorain County that has continually proven to be the best and only place to experience hand-picked foreign language, independent, documentary and art films," Dudash said.