Students honor arts venue

ARMSTRONG, Iowa – The North Union High School art department has found a creative way to honor one of the region’s biggest supporters of the arts.

“My school has always played a role in displays at the Red Rock Center,” said J.D. Speltz, art director at North Union High School. “We are very fortunate to have this hub for the center of the arts in our area.”

That’s why this month’s display at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont is North Union art students’ way of saying “thanks.”

“There are pieces we display throughout the year, but this is a one-month show,” Speltz said. “There are 22 different divisions that we cover in class each year, and we’re entering one in each medium; some divisions we have more than one.”

Along with the students’ tributes to Red Rock Center, the March art display will have other pieces from North Union students.

“The first part, right when you come in, we have two to three pegboards just full of their projects,” Speltz said. “We teach a little of everything at the beginning. Then in the second semester, the students decide which medium they want to take to the next level.”

The second portion of the North Union art show showcases students’ renderings of the skills they’ve learned.

“There is a four-year plan in every unit, so these students should be ready for any college level art class by the time they’ve finished,” Speltz said.

Finally, the Red Rock tribute projects show what happens when art and the “real world” collide.

“This was to help them understand how to do a commercial project, provide your own viewpoint, and work under a deadline,” Speltz said.

The deadline was put to the test, thanks to Mother Nature.

“We’ve had so many snow days, and then we had J-Term,” Speltz said. “We’ve had almost a full month’s worth of delays. But we have no choice. There have been a lot of evenings and weekends with kids coming in to work on projects.”

Then there has been the chaos of setting up for the show.

“This is a crazy week,” Speltz admits. “We have about 100 pieces to mat and frame for the show.”

All of the pieces on display have been created during this school year.

“This is a way for us to say thank you to the center and their endorsement of the arts,” Speltz said. “We always appreciate the board and staff for all their support.”