New Horizons High School Student Art Exhibition


Mountain Ridge students Morganne Mitchell and Abigail Wilkes have been chosen to participate in the New Horizons High School Student Art Exhibition this semester for their versatile talent within the art department. The exhibit will run from January 8- February 13, and will showcase their work, along with the work from other high school students across the state. 


Mitchell’s piece is titled “Sighting” and depicts a woman “with a variety of eyes surrounding her. The painting is one of 5 in a series about senses. 


Morganne is in her senior year at Ridge, and has been practicing art since she can remember. Every year of school she’s made it a point to be involved in an art class so she can continue to learn and improve. She explores different mediums such as oil, acrylic, and colored pencil, but her heart stays true to painting. 


“The feeling of the paint against the paper is so satisfying and calming to me,” she said.  


Like many, Mitchell’s passion began brewing at a young age. One of her fondest memories of her younger years is of drawing a portrait of her mother. Her mother’s reaction to her “neither good nor identifiable” masterpiece sparked a fire within her soul.


“It made me want to create art for other people,” she said. 


Mitchell doesn’t plan on being a professional artist after high school, but rather is working to become a pharmacist. Her plan is to keep her art “alive and breathing,” while focusing on her future goals.


Abigail Wilkes is a junior at Ridge, and like Morganne, her art has few limits as she explores many mediums of creativity. She has recently gotten into 3D sculptures but paints more frequently than anything else. 


Wilkes is inspired by several different eras of art that speak volumes to her perspective on  society. Whether it be the pop modernist movement or classicist italian portraits – it all drives her work. She looks to her surroundings to make meaningful pieces that catch the public eye.


 Her work featured in the New Horizons Art Exhibition is a sculpture titled “Linda.” The black and white ceramic head with hands and wires are completely open for interpretation by anyone who views it.


“My art is generally inspired by issues I see or experience within society,” she said. I tend to create work inspired by people, especially faces and expressions, and I like to invoke either an uncomfortable or unrestrained feeling in people who view my art.”


Wilkes strongly believes in having an unchanging idea of what she wants to create, and would advise any beginning artist to stick with that mindset. Art is not an exact science, and you have to embrace mistakes- or in the words of Bob Ross “happy little accidents.”


Elbert Hubbard, founder of the arts and crafts movement said, “Art is not a thing it is a way.”


An artist’s job in society is to, in the utmost truth of themselves, create what isn’t seen at a glance. It requires a deeper look at your surroundings to create a work that is extremely bold, and unique.


Wilkes also doesn’t believe artists should be treated as expendable. A lot of art sparks conversation and can make change, which is important in a society full of a variety of diverse beliefs. When we take art seriously, we can find that it uncovers a lot about the world around us.


“I think art reflects its time, and is an unappreciated way to look at how society has evolved,” she said.


Although Wilkes isn’t sure what she will do after high school, she says she will always make art and allow it to influence her and be an important part of her life.