Jane Walsh Smells Like Teen Spirit

Elizabeth Young, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

As the buildings get older, and the smell of the river gets stronger, you have probably noticed the art-filled streets of Downtown Paducah. It is no secret that Paducah takes great pride in the creative talents of our community. A search as simple as “Paducah Art” will lead you to numerous websites accounting for different art-related activities, galleries, schools, and more.

 Within the search, the website for Yeiser Art Center will show up. The YAC was established in 1957 and is located at 200 Broadway St. In 1993, Teen Spirit was created with a mission to “support the area’s art programs and to recognize the talented youth of the region,” according to their website. The exhibit was set up in a salon style, meaning all the pieces were stacked together, so that there was more room for the work. This year was the 27th annual art show. There are 220 pieces submitted by 215 students from 11 schools in the region with more than 100 pieces from our school. The show started on November 19th and ended on December 4th with an awards ceremony.

National Art Honor Society President, Jane Walsh, submitted three pieces: False Affections, Head of the House, and Hunting Season. Walsh has found a family in the art community and teachers, so she takes every opportunity to put work in shows to show up for them and herself. False Affections is an oil painting about emotional apathy in physical love. She made it in July shortly after getting home from Governor’s School of Arts. Head of the House is a necklace made in McCracken’s metal studio for Walsh’s portfolio, which is based around the repurposing of old flatware and southern aesthetics. Despite the beautiful craftsmanship, Walsh said it was the first large pendant she’s ever made. Last but not least, Hunting Season. She sculpted an emaciated fawn covered by grass blades. It’s about the struggle of disordered eating in children and teenagers that come from neglectful home environments. It was made from clay, foam, zip ties, acrylic paint, and epoxy at the Governor’s School of Arts.

 Jane Walsh’s “Hunting Season” won 1st place at the reception. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there for the announcement, but she said she was so happy, “ I think I even cried a little. It’s always so rewarding to have my personal pieces do well in shows. It’s validating to see my work resonate with people.” To anyone who might be thinking about entering next year: Jane says, “Go for it!” Art is so subjective that you never know what the outcome will be. Even if you don’t place in a show, Walsh describes the feeling of seeing your artwork as “so incredibly worth it” and “invaluable”. She stresses how blessed she is to have a senior year full of so much of what she loves to do, and thanks the art program at McCracken for opening up so many opportunities and helping her find her passion for metalsmithing. “Take every opportunity in the arts that you get, you never know what doors it’ll open.”