Kids got to show off their natural talent Thursday, May 10, as the Hogle Zoo unveiled student artwork of wild animals at an open house of the zoo's "Walk on the Wild Side" exhibit.
The exhibit, running through today, May 25, in the zoo's auditorium, took submissions from students of eight schools, all part of the Artstream Choice Initiative, a program created by the Salt Lake City School District in 2004 to integrate art with regular school studies.
The pieces of art are the fruits of a year's worth of studying, said Gene Klatt, director of Artstream and coordinator of the exhibit. Teachers and students used the zoo to help them in their projects, taking field trips to the zoo, getting instruction from artists and zoo staff and using the zoo's Web site in class curriculum, Klatt said.
Instructors included Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, an internationally known nature artist and the Hogle Zoo's honored artist for this year's "World of the Wild" art exhibit. Brest van Kempen made presentations to classes and worked with students sketching animals, involvement that Klatt said inspired students.
Klatt said she was extremely pleased with the art and was amazed at the art the students had created.
Jameson Weston, art director for the zoo, also praised the students' talent, saying that it was on par with other art the Hogle Zoo exhibits.
Some of the pieces of art took a huge effort. A massive papier-mache Bonneville cut throat trout, affectionately named "Bonnie," took one of the two Best of Show awards. Parkview Elementary teacher Pam Fitches had her fourth-grade class create the fish with help from other grades at the school, taking months to bring it from just a sketch to its anatomically correct completion, sparkles and all. She said the class learned about the fish while they created it. Fitches obtained a grant for the project, which she estimates took 60 hours and 250 students to create.
Nick Cleveland, a student at Highland High School, took the other Best in Show award for his intaglio etching entitled "Leopard." Cleveland said he used a reference picture of a leopard he took at the zoo. He was visibly excited about winning not only Best in Show, but another first-place award in the "High School" category for his submission, "Orangutan Intaglio."
Other classes displayed their own creations, including models of birds and monkeys and individual pieces depicting butterflies, wild cats and other animals.
Jessica McIntosh, a second-grader from Highland Park Elementary who had come with her family to see her and other students' artwork, said she had fun helping to cut out animals for her class's wildlife scene which used cutout paper to depict a wildlife scene.
The zoo partnered with Artstream to help students create the art and to display it.
Klatt said schools who participate in Artstream and programs like it "blow the top off of test scores."
"The children come out with so much more," she said about the combining the program with regular school studies.
The Best of Show winners were: Parkview Elementary, "Big Bonnie"; Nick Cleveland, Highland High School, "Leopard."
The Hogle Zoo Staff Award went to Highland Park for its "Nocturnal and Diurnal Animals."
The Middle School Awards went to Young Ji Kim, Hillside, for his "Scratch Board Monkey"; George Nielsen, Hillside, for his "Scratch Board Cotton Top Tamarin."
The High School Awards went to Haley Stringfellow, Highland High School, for her "Bighorn" and Nick Cleveland, Highland High School, for "Orangutan Itaglio."