Exhibit features work by high school student

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By John Barnhart

    A rainy Friday night this month didn’t stop people from filling the Bower Center for a student art exhibit during 2nd Fridays.

    The art exhibit, featuring 300 pieces by students from all three high schools, is an annual event. In past years, it’s been held at Bedford Science and Technology Center, according to Melissa Friedewald, an art teacher at Liberty High School (LHS). It could only stay up one day however. Moving it to the Bower Center made it possible for it to stay up for two weeks, making it accessible to more people.
    The art came in a number of media, and some students are photographers. Leslie Padgett, another art teacher at LHS, mentioned that putting a camera into the hand of one of her students opened up a new world to the girl. Padgett said that the girl hadn’t thought of post high school education before, but now plans to start off at a community college after graduating.
    “I see why we need art in public schools,” commented Susan Hubble, who teaches art at Staunton River High School.
    The Best in Show award went to April Layne, a junior at LHS. Layne’s work is a five-shade monochrome self-portrait done in acrylic. She based it on a digital photo she took of herself.
    “It gives it an interesting foreshortening,” said Padgett.
    Layne said that she chose that photo because it made her eyes look really good. The eyes were one feature of the work that drew the three judges’ attention, according to James Underwood, who served as a judge. The expression was something else that drew his interest.
    “It’s something that grabs you from a few feet back,” he said.
    Saturday featured a concert by a 16-year-old concert pianist from Boone, N.C. Baron Fenwick performed a program that consisted of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Prokofiev.
    Fenwick’s favorite is Chopin, but there was a reason for choosing a program consisting of baroque, romantic, and a 20th century composer. Fenwick recorded the performance and may include it in a portfolio that he’s building in order to apply to a conservatory.
    If he gets his wish, that conservatory will be Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. It’s a private school, but offers a full scholarship for every student it accepts. Fenwick said that only 2 percent of those who apply get accepted, but those who graduate do very well.
    He has some help in that endeavor. For one, his current music teacher is a Curtis alumna, and has taught there as well. She can give advice as to what Curtis will be looking for. Another supporter is Jay Fenwick, his father.
    Fenwick the Elder provides logistic support, setting up the digital recording equipment his son needs. In his day job, he teaches computer science at Appalachian State University in Boone.