People's choice

Power art students Tyler Danreuther, Ben Lehnerz and AJ Taylor received the People’s Choice awards during the Young Masters Art Program reception held March 12 at the Embark Credit Union in Great Falls.

High school art students from Power were recognized during the Young Masters Art Program reception held March 12 at Embark Credit Union in Great Falls.

Six students’ artwork was included in the Top 20 Show of artwork submitted from students from Great Falls and surrounding communities.

During the reception, the guests selected the people’s choice awards. Three were presented with cash prizes with the Power students sweeping the field. Ben Lehnerz, senior, was selected as first place with his acrylic mama and baby bear, $100; AJ Taylor, senior, took second place with his scratch board of an owl, $75; and Tyler Danreuther, junior, took third with a scenic watercolor, $50.

Following the open house, area artists juried the student’s art and presented awards.

Power freshman Maggie Toeckes was awarded second place with her graphite drawing of a horse. She received a $300 cash award. Taylor was selected as second place and received $200. Lehnerz and Jazzmyn Ewing tied for fourth place and each received $100. Ewing, a sophomore who recently transferred to Shelby, had painted the watercolor of birds while a student at Power school.

Freshman Allie Eaves was also selected for the Top 20 reception. She showed her graphite pieces of birds on a pine branch.

Longtime Power Public Schools art teacher Dawn Sievers was proud of her students and excited their work was recognized through the Young Masters Art Program. Sievers said she can’t recall how many years her students have taken part in the young master’s program, but it has always been a successful part of her class.

The program is held as part of “Western Week” in Great Falls. Area students submit artwork that is juried and the top 20 pieces are selected to be displayed by program sponsor Embark Credit Union. From there the work is traditionally on display as part of the Western Art Show. Because the show was postponed this year, the public’s only chance to see the artwork was while it was on display at the credit union. In some years, the students also work with guest artists throughout the Western Week celebration.

A second part of the program is scholarships. Post-graduate scholarships are offered to high school seniors pursuing a career in art. The final element of the program is assisting area high school art classes in their acquisition of needed art supplies or the assistance of professional artists visiting participating schools to teach. “It is not the intent to replace any school’s art budget, but to supplement and bring a new level of focused instruction directly to the classroom,” Sievers said.

Sievers said starting in junior high, her students learn the fundamentals of art exploration. As they continue through her classes, the students experiment with each medium. Sievers has gotten creative to keep the cost of her program down. She doesn’t teach just one medium at a time. “I allow the students to select an art medium they wish to explore,” Sievers said. “During any given class, I have someone painting a watercolor while another is doing a graphite piece,” she added. “Planning my courses this way means I don’t have to purchase supplies for a class of 20, instead I can have more items that can be used by five or six students at a time.”

The Power School art program yearly displays their art pieces at the State Fair in Great Falls. Sievers said it is something she does outside school but loves to see her students work on the display. “Fellow teachers are always willing to help with displays,” Sievers said.

The art club also holds an art show in Power yearly. In the last few years the show has been held in the spring, but Sievers said they had already planned to move the event to the fall. “Spring is just so busy for students and families, we decided to hold the art over from this year and hold the event in the fall, where we are planning to keep it for the future,” Sievers said. “The Power community is so great at supporting the art students, for which I’m very grateful.”