Student art shines at Center for the Arts in Manassas

It’s the 10th year that the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory in Manassas has hosted an exhibition of work by local high school students. To celebrate the anniversary, gallery director Anna Mish added a photo slam to this year’s show.

In addition to about 50 artworks on the first floor of the gallery, there is a slide show of about 135 photographs on the third floor. Students also entered poetry in the festival.

“I’ve really whipped them into shape over the last 10 years,” Mish said. “Initially, I had to give them some guidance about being shown in a professional gallery, but it’s really blossomed. They learn how to present their work and work closely with teachers. It raises the bar because you’re exposing yourself to the whole world instead of just parents and the PTA.”

Pieces for the exhibition, called “Off the Wall,” were chosen from entries Mish received from high school students and art teachers in Prince William County, Manassas City and Manassas Park.

Students worked with teachers to choose their best work, Mish said. Each student was limited to two submissions. Mish narrowed the selection for the show, and then judges chose winners in visual art, poetry and photography.


Liz Chung, an Osbourn Park High School student, won first place in the visual art category for her work “Two Faced.” (n/a)

Liz Chung, a student at Osbourn Park High School, won first place in visual art for her mixed-media work “Two Faced.” The portrait was done in acrylics, with pieces of colored paper and newspaper making up part of the face and the background.

“The judge was pleased with the composition, and that she put some thought into her color,” Mish said.

Rose Curiel, who attends Woodbridge High School, took first place in the photo slam with a photograph of a girl peering through a hole in a scroll of paper. Only the girl’s blue eye is visible through the scroll. Neil Hailey, also a student at Woodbridge High School, finished first in the poetry competition with “A Life of Creativity.”

“These kids are really working hard at becoming professionals,” Mish said. “Every year they make strides at one-upping the show from the previous year.”

Mish said that she has enjoyed helping develop young artists through the annual show but that the credit for their growth lies with the students and their teachers.

“This [show] isn’t what made them become such fabulous artists,” Mish said. “We were just there to witness it and encourage it.”

“Off the Wall,” sponsored by Lockheed Martin, will be at the gallery through Jan. 29.

Mari-Jane Williams covers parenting and family issues for Local Living and schools for the Prince William and Loudoun Extras.
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