Gallery opening fights “PY” stereotype


Mark Hominda, a senior at Franklin Pierce High School, stands next to his sculptures that won best in show. Photo by Erica Ann Photography

-For Discover Parkland-

Mark Hominda, a senior at Franklin Pierce High School, stood with crossed arms as he explained the long, arduous process that went into creating the sculptures on the nearby podium.

His two sculptures, a penguin and a goldfish, were made entirely out of welded and airbrushed horseshoes. These pieces took best in show at the gallery opening for PY // Art from Parkland’s Youth.

The opening took place in PLU’s Wekell Gallery on Friday, April 26, and showcased artwork from local high school students as a way to bridge the gap between PLU’s campus and the greater Parkland area.

The exhibition was the brain child of long-time Parkland resident and PLU alum, Sarah Wise. Wise grew up in Parkland. She learned to swim in the PLU pool, rode her bike around campus, and went to Sunday school at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Later, as a PLU student herself, Wise was disappointed to hear some of the negative stereotypes formed about PY, or Parkland Youth on PLU’s campus by students who weren’t from the area.

“It was a very nasty shock to become a student in 2007 and start hearing students and faculty referring to PY in a negative way,” said Wise. “Whenever I heard the term, I would respond that ‘I’m from Parkland. I’m a PY.’ and everyone just told me ‘well, we don’t mean you.’ But they did mean my friends and the community I had grown up in, didn’t they?”

Wise’s frustrations over this issue led her to put together PY // Art from Parkland’s Youth as her final project for her master’s degree at Savannah College of Art and Design. She intended for the project to unite community and art in a way that would create a positive dialogue between current PLU students and local high school students.

The exhibition features artwork from 21 different students from both Washington High School and Franklin Pierce High School. Mediums ranged from horseshoe sculptures, to watercolors, to pencil drawings, and many more.

“I’m very impressed…there are so many talented youth in Parkland,” said Bailey Smith, a first year student at PLU.

Sarah PY sign

The submitted artwork underwent a jury process in which four PLU art students judged the works based on technique and creativity. Every student who submitted artwork had at least one piece included in the exhibition.

The jury process also decided the winners of several awards including honorable mentions, judge’s choice, and best in show. There was also a people’s choice award given out at the end of the exhibition, which gallery attendees were given the opportunity to vote for.

The prizes included an award certificate as well as art supplies related to the medium of the winning piece.

Nola Foster’s piece entitled “Bartholomew” was chosen during juries by Taylor Cox for a judge’s choice award. It was one of a series created for Foster’s AP art class at Washington High School focused on kids and their imaginary friends.

“I think it’s a cool show,” said Foster. “A good way to exhibit local art.”


“Betty” by Nola Foster. Winner of the People’s Choice Award

During the jury process, a PLU professor saw Foster’s work and commented that the technique and creativity in her pieces was exactly what he looks for in scholarship works. Foster attributed her success to “blood, sweat, and tears.”

Another watercolor piece by Foster, entitled “Betty,” won the people’s choice award.

The event was sponsored by a number of local businesses, and Wise intends to keep the momentum going within the community. After the show in Wekell Gallery, the pieces will be hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church. Following that, the artwork may find itself featured in the office of Parkland Eye and Vision or on the walls of Northern Pacific Coffee Company.

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View more photos from Erica Ann Photography

Categories: Art & Music, Arts and Entertainment, Campus, Community, Parkland, Student Life

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3 replies

  1. Where’s the Wekell Gallery? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it.

    • Wekell Gallery is the smaller gallery in Ingram. If you walk towards the University Gallery, take a right down the hall, then take a left, Wekell Gallery is straight ahead.

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