SILER CITY, N.C. — Work from almost 80 Jordan-Matthews High School artists went on display last week to celebrate the inaugural Siler City Spring Chicken Festival and close the spring art season.
The JM Spring Art Show held its formal opening and reception on Monday, May 6, but began welcoming guests a few days earlier — on Saturday morning at Peppercorn in downtown Siler City. The show continues through Thursday, May 9.
Rahma Mateen-Mason, the art teacher at Jordan-Matthews, said this year’s show was inspired by the chicken festival. Students produced chickens in all forms — from the egg to the adult to cartoon characters — though artists also were invited to enter any work they wanted to show.
The annual art show helps students use entrepreneurial skills developed in class — one of them was designing and making T-shirts — so those who want to pursue art as a career can make a living after graduation. But its core is helping students take lessons they learn from the classroom into the world at large.
“I want my students to not only be able to think critically, but creatively,” said Mateen-Mason just before the show opened. “Employers look for people who can come up with new ideas and also implement those ideas.”
This is the first year the annual art show has been held at Peppercorn, a coffee shop and event space across from the NC Arts Incubator in Siler City. When she was gathering work for the exhibition, Mateen-Mason wasn’t quite sure if she’d have enough to fill the large room behind the coffee shop.
As is turns out, that was not a problem — and neither was the diversity of media. “When I finished hanging the last piece, I looked around and thought how proud I was of the students to see all of the different techniques,” she explained. “We had art made out of old magazines from the ‘40s to ‘70s, oil paintings, acrylic painting, ceramics, collage and even decorated furniture. I was impressed.”
With so many people downtown for the chicken festival and others coming through Peppercorn the following week, a lot of people will see the work by students ranging from novice artists in Art 1 to accomplished veterans preparing to graduate. Mateen-Mason hopes some of the visitors will leave the show inspired by their experience.
“I want them to go home and just pick up a piece of paper and doodle,” she said. “There are even some people out there who are talented artists and had to choose a different path in life. I want them to never lose that creative side they once loved.”