Nelson Art Gallery Hosts Student Art Show

Grace Frascati, Assistant Managing Editor

The Nelson Art Gallery partners with the RCHS Art department each year to organize a show full of student artwork. Art teacher Erin Allen works with the local art gallery to set up the show and select the featured artwork. 

“The Nelson Art Gallery in downtown Lexington is a cooperative of artists who are retired community members,” said Allen. “They invite the high school at least once a year, usually in March, to participate in a show, giving us a space where we are allowed to bring any work that we have deemed appropriate for the gallery.” 

The show is a unique opportunity for art students to show off their work outside of the classroom. 

“We are so into project based learning these days and getting the art out into the community is basically that,” said Allen. “Producing the art, framing it, putting it in a public space, and having it in a real gallery where they can earn some money just like a professional artist would is a really great experience.” 

Allen personally enjoys seeing the collection of the pieces on display after the hectic process of putting them up. 

“On the Saturday morning when we put the artwork up, it’s usually a little bit frenzied because you have the space and all these different sizes of pieces, and you have to figure out where to put them,” said Allen. “We have to use hammering nails and put them on the wall, which is frenzied, but once it’s over, I love standing back and admiring the combination of what the students have done.”

Students also have the opportunity to sell their featured artwork if they choose to do so. The Nelson Gallery allows them to take 80% of the sale price, while it keeps the remaining 20% for the leasing of the space. 

“The students are really wonderfully blessed in that they are able to sell their work,” said Allen. “They have to mat and frame their work, and then price it if they wish to do so. If the art work does not sell, it comes back to us, and we take it out of the frames so they can get it back.” 

Senior Emmalyn Hoover has participated in the show in her past few years of art class and has actually sold several of her pieces. 

“I like making money, so if things get sold it’s great,” said Hoover. “Selling isn’t the priority, but it is fun to get money out of it and know that people are interested. Sometimes it is just your family members, but I have sold pieces to people I don’t know.”

Students like Hoover are also invited to volunteer in the process of putting up all of the pieces. 

“If you’re volunteering to put stuff up, it’s fun because you can go and do it with people you know,” said Hoover. “It’s interesting to see what everyone else has done that year as well because you don’t get to see all the other classes.”

The gallery opens to the public for the first time at night, when the downtown galleries are open for viewing. 

“I really enjoy the first night where the art galleries are open for the community to see,” said Allen. “You get to see not only community members, but also the parents. It makes the students feel special because they feel like their art is validated.”

Sophomore Cameron Newcomb is another student who had her artwork featured in the show this year. 

“I’m really glad that I have artwork there, and it makes me really proud of myself. It shows how far I have gotten,” said Newcomb. “It also means a lot that my art is good enough to be shown.”

The show allows students to connect with the community, and it gives them a platform on which they can display their work to the public. 

“It’s a chance to get your artwork out into the community and see what other peoples’ opinions of it are,” said Hoover. “We aren’t just putting it in a school show, but an actual shop where people from both in town and out of town can come in and look at it.”