WSCC art exhibit allows young minds to be creative

Many of us firmly believe that nothing shows off the creativity of young minds like the world of the arts.

Be it in the form of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography or the written word, the creative mind is one that can capture the beauty of the world and all it contains. What makes the artwork of these young minds so special is they often see and record life in the untainted form free from the cynicism and bias that comes with age.

That is why it is so sad to see how shrinking school budgets have taken such a heavy toll on the arts in the past decade. Many schools are forced to cut elementary art and music programs and only hold limited high school ones. It leaves a huge void for those creative juices that start flowing at that age level.

However, something that has remained a beacon for the young artists of the world for the past 20 years has been the West Shore Community College Regional High School Art Exhibition. It is the opportunity for high school students from 11 area high schools and some home schoolers to not only show the people of this area what they can do with their artwork, but to loudly proclaim why the arts are so fundamentally important to a well rounded education.

Yes, subjects like math, science and English will always be the building blocks to a child’s success, but so is the need to let those young minds be creative in the arts. To let that creativity loose in that manner only makes them be stronger in those core curriculum classes.

WSCC professor Rebecca Mott has coordinated the WSCC high school art event for the past 20 years and what never ceases to amaze me is her true zest and love for the arts. Mott not only enjoys seeing what these talented young minds come up with every year, she loves to promote their creations in a truly professional setting.

What’s more is every piece of artwork that is entered in the show is handled with the same care and respect of the many noted artists who feature their work at the Manierre Dawson Gallery.

That my friends is not only classy, it is impressive. And to a 15,16,17 or 18-year-old mind it is an incredible feeling to have their work shown in an actual gallery.

It often instills in these budding artists the confidence to expand their horizons in the world of art. Confidence is huge in art creativity and throughout the years the WSCC show has started many a student down that path of success in that venue.

We are fortunate in Manistee County to have art teachers like Amanda Mobley (Brethren High School), Dana Woolman (Onekama Consolidated Schools), Monte Klein (Manistee Area Public) and Mary Wahr (Manistee Catholic Central). They inspire and encourage their students to dream and reach for the skies. Many times they take timid, young students who have the ability, but not the confidence and make them believe in themselves and their artwork.

That is what teaching and art are all about.

To those who have never witnessed the WSCC event, I urge you to attend the artist’s reception from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday in the arts and science building at West Shore Community College where the Dawson Gallery is located.

It is something you will not regret. More importantly you will not soon forget it because the artwork is exceptional.

The show runs until March 25 and the gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Friday. What is even more special during that time frame is you can get a twofer in the world of arts as the gallery is open during any performance at the Center Stage Theater.

So let me be one of the first to say thank you to Rebecca Mott and West Shore Community College for keeping the world of art alive and well in this part of Michigan. Thanks to you, young minds can can continue to dream, create and make the world a more beautiful place through the paintings, sculpture, textiles, photography, drawing and pottery they create for this show.

The show is a great gift to us from the students of this area and we are much richer because of it.

It is something I hope continues long after when I… see you next Wednesday.



Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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