“The Art Contest and Exhibit has improved the quality of my program and the quality of the work my students are producing,” says Jill Kuebler, the high school art teacher at Grant Public Schools. “They have excitement that people are going to see their work

Jill has been an art teacher at Grant Public Schools for 30 years, with her students participating in the art exhibit since she first started teaching art at the middle school. As her program has grown, she has continuously incorporated TrueNorth Community Services’ arts programs into her curriculum.

The Art Contest and Exhibit has been a part of TrueNorth’s Cultural Arts programs since 1972. Middle school and high school students submitted different mediums of art from area schools: Fremont Christian Schools, Fremont Public Schools, Grant Public Schools, Hesperia Community Schools, Newaygo Public Schools and White Cloud Public Schools.

The 2023 Art Contest and Exhibit kicked off with its opening to the public on April 28, wrapping up on May 3. Area students showcased their artwork and even won scholarships to help further their artistic education. Jill says having her students participate in the art exhibit has given her “the ability to promote enthusiasm for what they’re doing. The opportunities that kids have here are way beyond what they would have had because of TrueNorth.” 

Among Jill’s students who took part in the art exhibit, two high school seniors’ pieces were featured for their second year. Seniors Cyanne Schuitema and Taylee Self both had multiple pieces showcased in the exhibit, and Cyanne even received a senior recognition for her oil pastel piece titled “My Dinosaur and Me”.

At the 2022 Art Contest and Exhibit, Cyanne was also recognized for her portfolio. She says, “It was nice knowing that it wasn’t just one piece of art that got an award, it was all of them. It made me feel like I could keep working with other mediums.” This encouragement from last year gave Cyanne the confidence to explore different art styles for her final art exhibit this year.

Not only does the art exhibit provide students with encouragement and recognition for their work, but it also creates an opportunity to see the different art styles their peers are using. Taylee says, “I love just walking around and being able to look at all the different styles and different creativity everyone is using.” Whether or not students received awards or scholarships, all of the submissions showcased the talent and creativity of our local youth.