GALION — The works of many student artists were featured during the Galion City Schools Music and Arts Showcase on Saturday at the high school.
Pieces submitted by students from elementary grades through high school were displayed publicly during the event held in the high school cafetorium. Galion High School Director of Visual Arts Claudia Riedy said she was excited to see the art students added to the showcase this year.
“In previous years, the band and choir departments had done a combined music showcase,” said Riedy, who is in her second year teaching at Galion City Schools. “So I thought wouldn’t it be a great idea to get the visual arts combined with that just so we could celebrate all of our arts programs at once. So, this is kind of the first try at this and so far we’ve already had tons of people come and celebrate everything the students have to offer, which is great.”
Riedy expressed a sense of pride at being able to offer the art students a public forum for their works to be viewed by people outside of the school community.
“I’m just happy to be able to get their art out of my classroom and into the community because I get to see their skills, their talents, everything, every single day,” Riedy said. “And sometimes I think we don’t even realize how great they are because we’re not able to show it. So now that we’re able to actually get it out here for the public to see is really awesome.”
Richard Ratvasky, art teacher at Galion Primary and Intermediate Schools, was also pleased to see many of his students’ projects on display and the reaction from visitors to the exhibit last Saturday.
“For the young kids, it’s amazing to see how excited they are to have their art displayed,” Ratvasky said. “They’re all eager to have their art displayed, but unfortunately I can’t have every student’s works in the show. It’s just great to see the parents and students and the community be excited. Everybody looking at the art together and enjoying what they’ve created. Students are so easy to inspire and motivate and get excited about something. They come in eager and ready to go. It almost takes no effort to get them engaged in making art. They’ve often told me it’s their favorite part of the day, so that makes me feel good.”
Riedy said there were basically no opportunities to provide art students with a public forum during her first year of teaching at Galion City Schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the many restrictions in place because of it at that time.
“2020 was a crazy year,” said Riedy, who is an alumnus of Bowling Green State University. “I graduated from college — obviously right in the midst of COVID-19 — and was super grateful to be hired here, but within that first year there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for public outreach because of all the regulations.”
Riedy said she’s been pleased with the number of students who are participating in art classes at Galion High School.
“I’ve seen a really good turnout for students enrolling in classes and re-enrolling, which is great to be able to watch a student progress through all the courses,” Riedy said. “One of the best things about teaching an elective like that is that you can have students in grades nine through twelve and see their transformation year to year. There are students who are super interested in art, some who are just taking it for fun, but then actually realize they have a real interest in it, which is great.”
Kevin Dickinson is the Galion Middle School Visual Arts Director. Many of his students’ pieces were included in the art display.
The Galion City Schools music department was also on display Saturday. Performances were presented by the sixth and seventh grade choir, eighth grade choir, concert choir, symphonic choir, high school choir with alumni, and all choirs combined. The seventh and eighth grade band, jazz band, and high school band also performed.
Jane Kundu is the director of choirs and Luke Warkall is the director of bands for Galion City Schools.
For information about programs offered through Galion City Schools, go to the district website www.galionschools.org.