If you walk into West Charlotte high school over the next few days, you will notice the entrance has been transformed into a mini art gallery.
The artists? West Charlotte’s own students.
This past Wednesday saw the debut of “No Boundaries,” an exhibit that encourages the art students of West Charlotte to explore and display their creativity for the community to see.
Now through the 23rd, and possibly longer, the student’s art pieces are available for purchase, with all proceeds going to the school’s art class, taught by Morgan Osburn.
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Osburn has been in the role at West Charlotte for 2 years.
“The art class is a safe space for them,” she told QCity Metro.
The art on display encompassed photography, paintings, 3D collages, sculptures and more.
Local art curator and artist Zaire McPhearson, in collaboration with nonprofit art organization SouthEnd Arts, worked with the students over several months to prepare them for the exhibit.
“We wanted the students to experience the same process a professional artist goes through. We had them measure the dimensions of their pieces, title them and submit them. A lot of them had never gone through this process before,” said McPhearson.
McPhearson would then choose which pieces to display in the exhibit so that the students also understood that in professional art, not every piece they submit to be curated will be chosen.
The theme of the exhibit “No Boundaries,” was intended for students to expand their creativity.
“There’s a lot of negative stigma around West Charlotte,” said McPhearson. “We wanted the exhibit to show the students that the sky is the limit for them.”
This was McPhearson’s first time working with high school students for an art show, but she says she would like to do similar work in the future, particularly with high school students.
“With high school students, there’s an innocence in their creativity that I admire,” said McPhearson.
She added that the art exhibit was an opportunity for the West Charlotte High community to come together.
When curating art for the students, McPhearson looked for pieces that “empowered Black bodies,” or represented something that brought the students comfort.
“Some of the pieces the students did were inspired by TV shows or cartoons they like,” said McPhearson. She continued, “I thought those pieces were important because they represent a safe space for the students.”
McPhearson’s own art has a heavy focus on celebrating Black women and the Black experience as a whole.
She enjoyed working with the students and was impressed by their work. “I’m thinking about buying a few pieces myself,” McPhearson said.
With the proceeds from the art show going to her classroom, Osborn told QCity Metro she intends to use the money to buy more materials for the class.
“I polled them to see what supplies they needed most,” said Osborn. She hopes that the “No Boundaries,” exhibit can become an annual occurrence.
Those interested in purchasing art can contact Ms. Osburn.