Gallery hosts ‘Touch of Class’ show for and by local students

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Photo by Andrew Turck

Depictions of animal faces stare out near the entrance of Hardin’s JailHouse Gallery. They were made for the gallery’s “Touch of Class” show, which is set to continue through April.

Photo by Andrew Turck

A yeti designed by first grader Marcus Walks-Crooked Arm sits on a shelf with its brethren in the JailHouse Gallery.

Those entering the JailHouse Gallery in Hardin this week will be greeted by the striking images of bird and mammal faces drawn by Fort Smith’s fifth grade students using a combination of paint, crayons, watercolors, colored pencils, acrylics and construction paper. The animals’ eyes have been laminated, Gallery Director Terry Jeffers said, to give them an extra “sparkle.”

Starting in February, the JailHouse Gallery began hosting student art in its annual “Touch of Class” show. First, it displayed work from the primary school; now, it’s on to the intermediate. Next week, she said, the gallery will bring in pieces from the middle school.

According to Jeffers, “Touch of Class” likely has been offered by the gallery annually every March and April for about 30 years. Her favorite aspect of the show, she continued, is when students arrive to the gallery with their parents to look at the artwork.

Fort Smith Elementary School students also have supplemented the show with depictions of yetis, flamingos, watercolor bear paws, penguin cut-outs and children with snowflakes on their tongues. Hardin Intermediate School students have contributed portraits of polar bears and further depictions of penguins.

All schools are invited to participate in “Touch of Class,” Jeffers said, including homeschools. One homeschooled third grader, Nizhoni Bearchum, contributed an iridescent watercolor piece called “Cheyenne Rainbow.”

Jeffers said an “emerging artist” is set to be featured in May, though she is unsure of an exact date or person.

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