The full measure of Killeen ISD art students’ artistic talent is on display this week during the school district’s annual visual art show at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Superintendent John Craft and Fine Arts Director Karen Herrera welcomed hundreds of students, parents, educators and guests to the opening reception Monday before snipping a ribbon and releasing waves of viewers into the ballrooms transformed to art museum.

The 16th Annual KISD Visual Art Show is an expansive variety of drawings, paintings, sculpture and other forms, all original works of elementary, middle and high school students.

“This is a chance for our budding artists to showcase their art,” said Herrera. “Art is meant to be shared.”

Greeting guests in the conference center lobby, the fine arts director pointed out that almost 4,800 middle school and high school students participate in visual art classes, about one-fourth of KISD’s total secondary school enrollment.

This week’s show is an unadjudicated display of a wide range of student artistic talent, but it does represent the best examples of class work from art teachers’ perspectives. Some of the work, marked with medals and ribbons, qualified for state competition.

A total of 218 high school art pieces competed earlier this month at the regional Visual Arts Scholastic Event with 174 earning gold medals. Out of those top pieces, 27 entries from 20 student artists made the cut to continue to the state contest in May.

One of those award-winning artists is Harker Heights senior Alex Sensiba, with two paintings qualified for state VASE. She said the school district show and visual art classes are vitally important.

“This is what I want to do,” the senior said, listing various college possibilities she is considering. Her experience painting has led to competition success, but also interacting with other art students and seeing work that inspires her to continue.

One of her displayed paintings, a portrait of a friend of Sensiba’s, presents a statement of the silliness of teenage dating through a comical parody of Valentine’s Day. She used a red balloon as her canvas.

Another student artist, Killeen High School junior Rachel Cannon, showed three of her works on display — an acrylic, a watercolor and a drawing.

One displayed a friend of hers grasping a package while standing in a museum, a scene that sprang from real life when she caught her distracted friend grasping hold of a purchased cheesecake during a trip to a museum.

“What I like about art are there are no limits,” Cannon said. “It’s what you feel and see and it’s your own unique perspective. You can express your own ideas. There’s always more to it than what you first see.”

The public has a chance to see it all from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday during the concluding free KISD Art Festival that includes interactive art activities for children.

Todd Martin is an employee of the KISD communications department and writes about students, teachers and school events.

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