Rochester students' artwork to be displayed at Capitol

Six Rochester Public Schools students will have their artwork displayed in the Minnesota State Capitol later this month as part Youth Art Month.

Kellogg Middle School eighth-graders Ellen Larson, left, and Chiao Ng will have their artwork displayed at the Capitol March 24-30.

Six Rochester Public Schools students will have their artwork displayed in the Minnesota State Capitol later this month as part Youth Art Month.

Art Educators of Minnesota sponsors the annual show to advocate for art education and support young artists in the making. This year, AEM is co-sponsoring the show with art suppliers retailer Sargent Art.

The show, running March 24-30, is a juried exhibit in the Capitol Rotunda with prizes, including art supplies and an all-expense-paid trip to New York for the show's best artist, one parent and the student's art teacher.

Each participating art teacher is allowed to submit two pieces of artwork for the show.

Remembering how good it felt to have her work displayed at the Capitol when she was a middle-schooler in Elk River, Rochester art teacher Cassie Wellen-Okronglis decided to submit some work from two of her students at Kellogg Middle School.


"Tiffany Erie, another art teacher, found out about the show, and I thought it would be cool for the kids. Now, a chance to pay it forward as a teacher is very rewarding. I am so proud that their talent is being recognized," Wellen-Okronglis said.

"I think it's really cool that I get to have my work at the Capitol. I've never really had anything like this happen before," said Ellen Larson, one of Wellen-Okronglis' eighth-grade students.

Larson's piece fulfilled an assignment by her art teacher in which each student chose a picture from a magazine, selected a small portion of it and used acrylic paints to paint it much larger and in their own style. They also had to choose and stick with a color theme, such as monochromatic or warm or cool colors.

Larson, 13, selected a picture of dog and concentrated on just a portion of its head. She used a black background and painted the dog in vibrant oranges, pinks and red colors. Why did she choose a dog?

"I just thought it was really cute, and I love dogs. And it was a pretty good size picture," she said.

Larson was planning to go to the Youth Art Show opening Sunday with her mother.

Also planning to be there Sunday with her mother and father is another of Wellen-Okronglis' eighth-graders at Kellogg, Chiao Ng. The 14-year-old also painted a picture of a dog, using oranges, pinks and yellows.

Ng said art is her favorite subject in school and that she's thought about art as a possible career.


"I enjoy doing art, but I don't really know because there are so many choices. I also like social studies, and I like history," she said.

The other Rochester students whose artwork will be displayed at the Capitol are: Adam Back, fifth-grader at Gage Elementary; Joey Bobendrier, fifth-grader at Franklin Elementary; Alivia Henriksen, fourth-grader at Gibbs Elementary; and Blake Sawyer, second-grader at Gibbs.

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