Barker High School art students are exhibiting their work at Arrotta’s Automax and RVs. For the students and the business, it’s their first exhibit.
“People love it,” said Eric Hustad, a salesman at the store. “It’s a neat thing.”
He said the exhibit came about when Barker art teacher Jennifer Compau came by to look at a car for her daughter. The two got to talking and came up with the idea.
Barker is an alternative school in the Central Valley School District that includes several alternative learning programs as well as the School to Life program for special needs students. Compau teaches art to students of all these programs.
Throughout the showroom, there are large pieces painted on partitions that Compau acquired from the school custodian when they were to be thrown away.
There are also three-dimensional banners made from sticks, painted fabrics and other materials. Compau said the banners were inspired by the work of local artist Louise Kodis, whose work is suspended on the ceiling of the Spokane International Airport.
On another wall of the showroom are hubcaps painted by students.
Amanda Jennen, who will be a junior next year, painted a picture of zoo animals. Compau describes the painting as “the cheeriest image in the whole wide world.” The panel will be donated to Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital later this summer.
“It was just one of my final projects,” Jennen said of the acrylic painting titled “Amanda’s Smile.”
She said she is excited the painting will be seen by so many people.
Student Helena McCrea created a black-and-white image titled “Kitty Dreams.” Marcos Lopez painted an image from the movie “Corpse Bride.”
On the back side of Jennen’s painting, Elise White and Tanner Sorenson painted an image of Mighty Mouse.
Kim Diep, 20, is a nonverbal special needs student who wasn’t really interested in working in art when she first took Compau’s class. After trying out many different types of art, Compau and the staff gave her a plastic bag which used to hold a comforter. They filled it with paint and she took to it. She painted many of the fabrics in the banners which students in the school put together.
For Hustad, who has a special needs son who will attend University High School next year, he knows the importance of giving attention to students for their work.
He was in sports in school and knows being in the paper and getting community recognition really uplifted athletes.
“These kids need some of that,” he said. “A lot of these kids get put to the side.”
During their last week of school, the students visited the showroom to see their work.
“I loved having the kids come through,” said Taylor Fyhrie, marketing manager at the store. “They’re so proud of their work.”
Hustad said it isn’t just the employees who are appreciating the art.
“It’s been a good response,” Hustad said. “Customers really enjoy it.”