CHHS art students present ‘showcase’ performance

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

Morgan Vardaman was one of the presenters at the Charles Henderson High School creative writing showcase Thursday at the school.

Art inspires art.

It’s that simple.

Because it is that simple, Carla Johnson uses visual art and the written word to inspire her creative writing students to put their feelings on paper, and then to verbalize them before an audience.

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At the end of each nine weeks, Johnson’s three creative writing classes at Charles Henderson High School participate in a “showcase” of their creative writing abilities.

On Thursday, Johnson’s students participated in two showcases and preformed their writings for students and guests.

“I don’t want my students to just put their thoughts in writing, I want them to perform their work,” Johnson said. “No matter what you do in life, you need to have the confidence to speak before a group. For some of my students, the showcase is their first opportunity. We present showcases four times a year, so each time the students perform their work their confidence increases.”

Johnson said when a student performs his or her own work they are sharing something deeply personal.

“They are sharing with the world who they are,” she said.

At the Thursday showcase performances, the students had the choice of sharing historical narratives, dramatic monologues, parodies or art inspired pieces.

Nik Knighten wrote of “the eye to the window pent up inside you,” while Robby Elmore allegorized the wind as chimes in the tundra and Jon Baugh reminded listeners that life is not a fairytale.

There were parodies of favorite Christmas stories and songs and several students shared their thoughts on the Charlie Lucas art exhibit at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy.

Lucas is a nationally acclaimed folk artist with studios in Selma and Pink Lily.

“Each student chose a favorite work of Charlie Lucas and then spent 30 minutes sitting and looking at it and writing about it,” Johnson said. “Art does inspire art.”

Morgan Vardaman was inspired by Lucas’ “Rolling It Back the Old Time Way” painting.

She titled her piece “Grasp Reality” and read with great feeling, “Falling, falling. Down they go. Opportunities slipping by. Too many burdens to carry. Time to fast. Wheels keep turning down the path of life. I’m striving for more. Higher, Higher. Opportunities rising, coming towards me. I seize the moment up on the horse and off into the sunset.”

Johnson said the students did outstanding work and are to be congratulated on a job well done.

“Some of our students will participate in the Alabama Literary Art Competition in January and we are planning a public showcase later in the year,” Johnson said. “We are very appreciative of the grant that we received from the Troy City School’s Education Foundation Grant program that enables us to do these special things.”