Huge Annual KISD Art Exhibit Open

Chaparral HS gold-medal artistAward-winning visual artIt must be the largest art show in town – thousands of pieces of original work created by Killeen ISD elementary, middle and high school students – and it’s open all week and free to the public.


For the 21st year, Killeen ISD Fine Arts unveiled on Monday its annual Art Exhibition at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, and this one is bigger than ever with interactive features and faculty artwork.


Superintendent Jo Ann Fey, Fine Arts Director Karen Marshall and Assistant Fine Arts Director Morganne Davies praised the district’s growing, developing, award-winning fine arts department.


After Davies introduced the district’s Visual Art Leadership Team, all the KISD art teachers gathered outside a ballroom doorway to cut a ribbon and officially open the exhibit.


This year’s show includes a Creative Canvas Festival Saturday, March 2, in partnership with the city of Killeen designed for families to come create their own artwork from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


The works of art, organized by school, include a scavenger hunt and opportunities to vote on favorites.

Award-winning visual art pieceKHS visual art award winner


On one end of the ballroom there is a traveling mural that is the collective work of 19 KISD schools combined together.


There is also a gum tree in the center inviting participants to chew a piece of gum and then apply the sticky, gnawed substance to the thin branches – seriously!


There are about 30 award-winning pieces, some with designated gold medals in the state’s Visual Art Scholastic Event. In all, KISD students earned 238 gold medals at VASE.


Fair warning: a single lunch hour is probably not long enough to see every painting, sculpture, drawing and other exhibit in the ballroom.


Before cutting the ribbon and opening the doors to officially open the exhibit, KISD leaders praised creative students, hard-working instructors and a supportive family members and community.


“I have been convinced in my time in education that having an appreciation of the fine arts as a leader creates some of the finest moments,” said Fey, applauding the value of art education.


“This does not happen everywhere,” she said of the large school district art show and accompanying festival with the city. “That’s a huge credit to the staff and to the families that support students in the arts.”


Marshall welcomed the large audience to the district’s 21st student art show. “I am so proud of the work of our students and our teachers. You are going to be amazed when you go through the door.”

interactive art - gum tree


Killeen ISD is a Texas Art Education Association District of Distinction, one of just 69 in the state, placing it in the top 5.5 percent of visual arts programs in the state.


Davies introduced the Visual Art Leadership Team, eight art teachers who have helped guide innovative projects throughout KISD.

Art instructors conduct ribbon cutting


New exhibits this year include faculty artwork, a high school technical theater exhibit and a handful of interactive features.


Chaparral High School senior Yasmin Almaraz is one of the many artists with gold medal work in the showcase. She described an acrylic painting, represented in the show with a print.


Pointing out the piece, featuring a portrait of herself with elements of her life, she explained how it illustrated the process of growing up.


“It’s about leaving your childhood behind,” she said. “It was like a self-portrait. Many of my friends were approaching the time of figuring out what we’re going to do.


“It’s really cool,” she said of taking part in VASE at the state level and contributing to the district art show over the years. “It’s good to see everyone here, including the teachers who have helped me.”


Killeen High School senior Amarilis Muniz also contributed a gold-winning painting. It featured herself and her cat in some surprising colors.


“The colors mean something,” she said of the work. “My cat is blue because whenever I’m sad she takes my sadness away. She’s not sad, but she’s the one taking my sadness away. I’m a fun pink color because when I’m with her I’m really happy,” she said.


“I was shocked,” she said of winning gold with her work. “I really wanted it to go to state. I was hoping it would go. I was really happy.”