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FHS opens art gallery
First of its kind in County

Farragut High School’s art department saw a dream realized Friday, Nov. 7, with the grand opening of its West End Gallery.

Shirley Harkins, who along with Yvonne Kidder, co-chairs the Art Boosters Club, said, “The art teachers had a dream that they could have gallery space here at the school where students could exhibit their work in a professional space, so this is a project that the Art Booster Club took on.”

The gallery is located off the Commons at FHS in a space once used as a dish room.

“It is the room where they used to wash dishes. Since they do not use trays anymore that have to be washed this space was available,” Harkins said.

Art students have the community to thank for the new gallery.

“It was done totally through donations,” Harkins said.

“We were able to secure donations of labor and materials from various business in the community, so it was built professionally,” she added.

Art teacher Wendie Love said the art department is thrilled with the gallery.

“It is phenomenal,” she said.

“There was a lot to be done and it literally went from Yvonne [Kidder] and I putting tape on the floor in an old dish room, going ‘Hmm, do we want the wall here or here?’ to a fabulous gallery. It was literally nothing before. It was a dish room,” she added.

Love credits the boosters for their hard work.

“It has been a blessing to have them because they organized the community into making this happen. John Farner, Will Farner’s father, is with Blaine Construction and he was able too get more businesses on board to build the walls and rewire the lighting,” she added.

The gallery is intended to function as a professional gallery, not only showing student work but hosting guest shows as well.

“The learning opportunity is huge,” Love said.

“The students will run it. They will install the shows, take down the shows, host the receptions and have official gallery hours that it will be open with a student there,” she added.

A professional art gallery is a new concept for Knox County Schools.

“As far as we know it is the only one in the county of this magnitude — to have professional gallery space with students running it. Other schools have places to display that might be gallery-like, but this is an official gallery,” Love said.

The opening show is called “A Retrospective of Farragut High School Art Alumni 2001-2008,” and features alumni art in several mediums.

Some of the artists include: Lindsey Baker, Nicole Cairns, Ben Frederick, Haley Hall, Elizabeth Kidder, James Krouse, Tim Lewis, Katherine Livesay, Dessa Lohrey, Chris Mitchell, Natalee Newcombe, Cara Pfenningwerth, Codio Serio and Laurel Smith.

The exhibit will run through Dec. 12.

“Our next show will be art student work that has been purchased by Farragut High School National Art Honor Society that is currently shown all around the school and we will have it all showcased in one place,” Love said.

“National Art Honor Society is hosting a show in the spring and AP Studio Art is supposed to come in and host a show, so there are various avenues for students to show their work,” she added.


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