LOGAN - Every spring at Logan High School, students get the chance to showcase their work at the annual art festival - and this year's display was the biggest yet.
More than 230 pieces of art were on display in the LHS student center that included prints, drawings, sketches, paintings, pottery, sculptures and masks. The festival was accompanied by live music, a slideshow and awards.
What was originally scheduled to be a one-day event Tuesday, May 7, was extended for the rest of the week, according to Logan High School art teacher Stephen Justice.
"On the opening night, people were saying, 'How long is this going on?' And I said, 'Well, maybe just today,' and they said it should be extended," Justice said. "So I talked to Mrs. (Kelly) Stanley, the principal, and I told her that I would like for it to be extended for the community and so all the other kids that could not attend, because whether they had ball games, rehearsals or whatever, that they could come during regular school hours."
Around 130 people attended the festival on its first day, and by the end of the week, he said, the tally was up to more than 400. Students from Logan Elementary School and Logan Middle School toured the display, and a member of the West Virginia Department of Education, Dr. Ray Lowther, attended the show on its opening night.
"I was fortunate that Mr. Justice walked through the exhibit with me and explained many of the processes, techniques and backgrounds used by the students," Lowther said. "Also, I was able to see the new kiln - what a great resource for LHS students! The art from LHS is of a quality that matches that produced in other West Virginia high schools. Mr. Justice not only provides excellent technical and creative instruction but has a genuine interest and rapport with students that builds respect, trust and risk-taking, which is essential in creating visual art."
Lowther said he was also impressed by the first LHS film festival, which was conducted by Bill France's mass communications class in the school's little theater following the art show. The festival lasted about 45 minutes and showcased four student-made short films.
"It is exciting that this type of media is being taught in a WV high school and being included as part of the art exhibit," Lowther said.
Andrea Santos chairs the LHS fine arts department and was honored as West Virginia Teacher of the Year in 2016.
"It was pure energy," Santos said. "As an educator, it is a beautiful and overwhelming experience to witness the self-empowering freedom that art has brought to the voices of southern W.Va. teenagers. Art is a direct pathway to the socio-emotional center of all people, teaching us to see the world through different eyes, via different perspectives."
Justice said he is already thinking about how to make next year's art festival even better.
Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196 or follow him on Twitter @DVidovichLB.