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Park High School students' work part of St. Paul art show

Alyson Smith of St. Paul Park had one of her photographs accepted at the St. Paul Jaycee’s “Best 100” art show at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown, St. Paul. She created the work, titled “Monsters Under the Bed,” (top left) as part of the IB Visual Arts class at Park. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)1 / 4
Samantha Flack of Cottage Grove poses with a copy of “God’s Image,” a watercolor self-portrait that she created for her IB visual arts class at Park High School. Flack, a senior, is one of five Park students whose work was accepted at the St. Paul Jaycee’s “Best 100” art show at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown. The exhibit closes at the end of this month. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler) 2 / 4
Pam Morse takes a photo of Alyson Smith at Friday’s IB visual arts gallery show at Park High School. Smith, of St. Paul Park, is one of five students whose work was accepted at the annual St. Paul Jaycee’s “Best 100” art show at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown. Morse’s daughter, Gabrielle, is one of the models in the photo, shown in the background. Its title is “Monsters Under the Bed.” (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler) 3 / 4
Visitors browse artwork at Friday’s gallery show at Park High School. The show featured artwork created by students in the IB Visual Arts class. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)4 / 4

Five Park students have been hanging in a pretty cool place — or at least their artwork has.

The Les Farrington Best 100 Juried Art Exhibition at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown in St. Paul includes work by Park students Krissy Palmer, Alyson Smith, Samantha Flack, Trazjaia Wilson and Molly Haus. All St. Paul area high school students were invited to submit their original artwork for competition to be judged by a panel of three artists. Students whose work was selected received award certificates or cash scholarships.

The five Park students created their paintings, sculpture and photography as part of the International Baccalaureate visual arts class taught by Kristina Jameson.

Better hurry if you want to see it, however. The show runs through Sunday, March 30.

The work of these and other students in the IB visual arts class was on display Friday at a show at Park. The artwork drew a crowd of students, parents, neighbors and teachers.

The IB program includes a rigorous curriculum, individual academic projects and the possibility of college credits.Molly Gallahue, a senior at Park who attended the show with her mother, Tricia and sister, Clare, likened it to “AP on steroids.”

Aaron Pozzini, English teacher and IB coordinator at Park, said that not all the students whose work was on display had a natural inclination for art. The point of the IB program, he said, is for students to venture out of their comfort zone. Students in the IB visual arts class were required to keep a workbook in which they developed their critical thinking skills and explained the decisions behind their work.

“It’s so much more than your natural ability to do art,” Pozzini said. “It’s about learning to think like an artist.”

Flack, 18,  a senior at Park, had a watercolor self-portrait titled “God’s Image” accepted at the “Best 100.” A copy of her work was part of Friday’s show. Flack said the portrait represented her first attempt in the watercolor medium.

“That’s why I chose it,” Flack said. “I wanted to challenge myself. I was more of a drawer because I like how sharp and accurate it is.”

She said she probably would study culinary arts or interior design at college.

Smith, an avid photographer,  uses her lens to explore identity issues and inner turmoil. Her photo, “Monsters Under the Bed” is among the “Best 100” at AZ Gallery. A copy of the work hung alongside her other photos and sculptures at Park.

The subjects of her photos, often teenage girls, are beset by “demons” — sometimes represented by other teenage girls who tempt or torment them. Smith, 18, of St. Paul Park, said she was intrigued by the struggle to keep things hidden — everything from drug addiction to a secret crush to an eating disorder.

“I like to make the invisible visible,” said Smith, whose father, David, also is a photographer..

The “Best 100” art show is an annual juried exhibition that often gets more than 2,000 submissions, so Smith realizes that she’s in some pretty good company.

“The fact that I was in a group of 100 is really cool.”

The event is organized by AZ Galleries and the St. Paul Jacyees. AZ Gallery is located at 308 Prince St. in Lowertown in St. Paul.

For details, visit