You’ve got just 10 days left to catch the 77th annual “Detroit Public Schools Student Exhibition” at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Got a free hour? This energetic show of hundreds of works by DPS K-12 students will boost your spirits and faith in the city’s future. With hundreds of works on display, the exhibition suggests a vast well of talent just waiting to be tapped in coming years.
Consider “Portrait of Donyale Luna” by Angelica Stewart, a senior at Davis Aerospace High School who studied under artist and teacher Patrick Burton.
Stewart’s intriguingly abstracted portrait in soft pinks, red and silver is a visual delight — all the more so because Stewart communicates so much in minimalist fashion, with just a few brush strokes conveying a great deal of visual information.
Hung just to the left of that you’ll find “Butterflies,” another gorgeous painting from Burton’s class — this one by Kylier Love, also a senior at Davis Aerospace.
With its black-and-white butterflies fluttering between wavy blue lines, this shimmering piece fairly cries out for commercial adaption, either in high-end wallpaper or expensive silk fabric. Without meaning to tell any student what to do, it’s nonetheless to be hoped that Love give some thought to graphic or textile design when heading off to college.
By contrast, teacher Robin McDaniel’s student at Bates Academy, seventh grader Brooke Hudson, has given us a charmingly unsophisticated portrait in “Swimming Lessons.” Deliberately un-fancy, this almost primitivist piece grabs your attention from 20 feet away with its cheerful, striking presentation.
Hanging above an archway you’ll find what appears to be an unusual metallic composition of cool 3-D industrial forms by Ludington Magnet Middle School students Alana McNeal and Stella Craig, both seventh graders in Beverly Watson’s class.
Human portraits, perhaps inevitably, tend to dominate the show, and some of those pieces by very young students are as grabby as what high schoolers have produced. A good example is “Bro,” which fourth-grader Michael Adams at Ronald Brown Academy produced under the guidance of teacher Michael Hillie. Abstracted and almost cartoonnish, this water color is a delight.
Finally, and acknowledging in advance that this short list leaves out dozens of great pieces, see if you can find “Snow Day!” by Nathaniel Martinez.
This second-grader from Barbara Nichols’ class at Earhart Elementary/Middle School has pulled together a hugely amusing collage starring an ecstatic little boy in the snow, head thrown back and eager tongue stuck out to receive the snowflakes’ blessing.
'Detroit Public Schools Student Exhibition'
9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through June 8
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward, Detroit
Free for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties
General admission for all others: $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 college students with ID, $4 kids (6-17)