When artist Naomi Scheck was a student at Arvada High School, from 1998 to 2002, one of the teachers who made the biggest impact on her was art teacher Linda Scholes.
For her part, Scholes remembers Scheck as a star whose work continually impressed and grew.
Teacher and student stayed in touch when Scheck finished school, and that friendship continues in their creative lives as the pair are the alumni and teacher exhibitors as part of the 46th annual Jefferson Foundation High School Art Exhibition at the Arvada Center.
“I taught art for a long time, and loved every second of it,” Scholes said. “My work is pretty free, because I love creativity, and I hope students like Naomi got a little of that from me.”
Said Scheck: “I’m honored to be exhibiting with her.”
The annual show features submissions from students from all over the Jefferson County school district in the Main Gallery. Scheck’s show “Hewn” is in the Upper Gallery, and Scholes’ show “Carpe Diem” is in the Theatre Gallery. The exhibits run through May 7, with the third annual Jeffco Film Festival happening on April 28.
“For the student exhibition, we had about 1,000 entries and more than 400 pieces were selected in 14 categories,” said Kristin Bueb, exhibition coordinator at the center. “This year photography is our biggest category, I think because cameras have become so accessible.”
Students submitted work in a wide variety of mediums, including ceramics, crafts and fibers, drawing, painting, jewelry and printmaking.
“The creativity we see every year is just outstanding,” Bueb added. “We have so many artists who remember their first time exhibiting being for this show.”
Scheck was one of those students who had their first taste of the real art world. She said it felt like a homecoming to have her first big show at the center. After graduating, Scheck went on to receive a bachelor’s in fine arts from the University of Denver and a master’s in fine arts from Colorado State University.
The work being displayed is three-dimensional paper pieces that call to mind growth and decay.
“I have a full-time job, so right now I’m creating my art in my free time,” Scheck said. “All the pieces are pulled together with a central theme and idea of coming into existence, changing and leaving existence.”
In her years as a teacher, Scholes has worked with hundreds of students, and said she’s thrilled with devoting her life to art after retiring. The works on display as part of “Carpe Diem” are abstracts, which are inspired by everything from three leaves to a day on the ski slopes.
“You never know what’s going to happen, but you hope it’s a little mysterious,” she said. “What I love about abstracts is that you start a story, and people get to bring their own views to the work.”
At a time when funding to arts in schools is in jeopardy, both Scheck and Scholes are testaments to the importance of creativity.
“Creativity not only affects art, but science, writing and society,” Scholes said. “The arts are not anything we want to lose.”