Artists in Action: County’s creative talents on display
Dec 01, 2013 | 3513 views |  0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cayli Calhoun is among the student artists on display at the Anniston-Calhoun County Public Library. Submitted photo
Cayli Calhoun is among the student artists on display at the Anniston-Calhoun County Public Library. Submitted photo
There’s so much to see and hear by area artists that entertainment events are shaping the county’s identity. The exhibit by area art students at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County is a study in subject, form and color, while students in Gadsden are instrumental providers in entertainment Dec. 6 with Christmas music that rocks. We are a community of people, it seems, with endless creative possibilities.

Student art fills the Ayers Room

Craftsmanship, creativity and the blending of light and dark — these were the goals of Calhoun County students as they put into practice their art lessons to be considered for the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County display. Art teachers from public and private schools throughout the county selected the top 20 entries for a show that’s diversity is one of its strongest elements.

You will see charcoals, watercolor, mixed media, torn-paper portraits, photography and radial designs. Some students created illustrations from fairy tales — some well known, others from students’ imaginations.

The practice of radial balance is at work in “The Simple Kaleidoscope,” a colorful work by Daniel Leverett, a 10th-grade student at Oxford High, which features a circular pattern of lines branching out from a central point. More traditional are 10th-grader Cayli Calhoun’s photographs,one reflecting Weiss Lake against a peaceful setting and another the architectural detail of the administrative building at Auburn University.

The display, which fills the Ayers Room, will be up through Jan. 31.

Students learn importance of culture

Sixth graders at C.E. Hanna School learned a little art history in order to make their contribution to the library exhibit. According to their teacher, Anita Ambrister, the students studied the Mayan civilization, a culture known for its writing system and art.

“Glyphs (or syllables) helped students learn about the importance of knowing our history and culture,” Ambrister said. “My purpose was to help the students fully appreciate their heritage. If our country had a catastrophic event, if our Internet was down and our books were destroyed, how would people know about our culture? It would only be through our artwork.”

The Mayan culture was lost when Spanish conquerors forced the natives to learn Spanish, and to write only in Spanish. The culture’s original books were burned. It took a century to actually decipher the lost language, some of it written in stone, and to learn about the true beliefs of the Mayan people, Ambrister explained.

“This was new for the students, and it was interesting to see what they could come up with,” the art teacher said. “I instructed my students to write their name in a Glyph by translating their name into syllables and design a square that represented their name. I wanted them to keep this small square and remember that they may be one small person in a large world, but they can do their part to preserve our culture and learn to pass down what is truly important in America.”

Etowah Youth Orchestra concert

The Etowah Youth Orchestras will rock in the holiday season with the Rock & Roll Christmas Concert Friday, Dec. 6. The 7 p.m performance will be held in the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center on the campus of Gadsden State Community College.

This year’s program features Christmas music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mariah Carey, Joan Osborne, James Taylor, the Beach Boys and John Lennon. The second half of the show, notes EYO Music Director Mike Gagliardo, is an “all-out rock ‘n’ roll show” featuring music by Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Jimi Hendrix, the Dave Matthews Band, Of Monsters and Men, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Tina Turner, Santana and Fleetwood Mac.

“Last year may have been our most successful Rock & Roll Christmas show ever,” said Gagliardo. “Instead of bringing in any outside musicians, the front ensemble — vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and piano, drums and solo instruments — was made up entirely of current and past EYO members. It was such a success that we’re repeating it again this year.”

The performers, members of the Etowah Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Etowah Symphonic Wind Ensemble, will incorporate all the elements of a great rock show.

“We have a few tricks up our sleeves with this year’s production.” Gagliardo said. “It will be bigger and better than ever.”

Tickets are $12-19 and are available online at, or in person at the front desk of the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts.

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