When Barbara Sick finished hanging a show at the Wyoming County Courthouse Art Gallery featuring recent graduates from Tunkhannock Area High School, a passerby asked about the creators.
When she answered that the show exclusively highlights students, the person was in awe.
It wasn’t a shock for Sick though, because she considers her advanced art students from this past school year “the cream of the crop.”
Through the summer, the courthouse gallery has “2020 Vision” on display, a wide variety of work from eight young women.
Michelle Thomas, owner of Swalebrook Studio and Gallery, contacted Sick about the possibility of doing a student show. Since their annual K-12 show with the school district had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw an opportunity to recognize at least some students.
It was tricky to pull off with schools closed for the remainder of the academic year, but came together in the end with 24 pieces, and her students appreciated the opportunity to showcase their work.
“It’s a really unique experience that I am really excited to be a part of,” said Hannah Zalewski, who submitted a collage that won a first place award at the Suzanne Maria Rossetti Memorial Juried Art Contest in March.
Zalewski took her first high school art class this year with Sick and felt disappointed that she couldn’t finish out the year with a school show.
Being that she plans to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology for graphic design, she views it as a positive experience for showing her work to a wider audience.
Breezy Corker, another alumna with work featured at the courthouse, also found it disappointing to see the school show canceled.
“It’s like finally something turned around for me with the fact that we were able to do it at the courthouse,” she said. “I deeply appreciate the opportunity to actually show my stuff.”
Corker plans to study film and animation at the Rochester Institute with the aspiration to work for Dreamworks one day and said showing her work outside of family and other students can serve as a networking opportunity.
She thanked Sick and all her other teachers over the years that helped her get this far.
The gallery also features artwork from Rachel Kenia, Ariel Vikara, Sophie Burke, Ashley Griffin, Jaime Occulto, and Mary Grow.
Until further notice, the courthouse is open by appointment only. Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry said anyone who wants to schedule a time to see the gallery during regular courthouse hours can call him at 570-996-2228.
A reception is being planned tentatively for late July to early August. Sick said the after hours event will require face masks and have rules in place for social distancing.
She wants her former and current students to look at life right now as a moment in time and know that while the circumstances may shape it, they won’t define it.
She believes the show won’t only benefit the student artists, but also the community.
“I hope that the public does get to see it and enjoy it,” Sick said. “I hope it does give them a sense of hope for the future. I really do.”