If someone wants to see a showcase of student athleticism, they might attend a local sporting event. If they want to hear a showcase of student musicianship, they might attend a concert. When it comes to seeing a showcase of artwork produced by local students however, the opportunities are limited.
    Pontiac Township High School Art Teacher Nick Vogt's AP Art Class will showcase some of its work beginning with an open reception this Saturday, at the Pontiac Community Art Center, from 4 to 7 p.m. Throughout the month of January, the Joe Bailey Gallery will be filled with two-dimensional art pieces, made by students, in a variety of media including graphite, drawings, mixed media, pen work, acrylic and oil paintings.
    "It's been a while since we've been able to showcase our work at the art center," Vogt said. "Four or five years ago, we had a full-school opening at the community art center, but since then it just hasn't worked out to continue that practice."
    Over the past few years, Vogt said the high school has not been able to showcase its artwork at the art center due to scheduling conflicts.
    "It's hard for us to do an exhibition at the beginning of the year because students are just getting back from summer vacation," he explained. "Likewise, at the end of the year, we are submitting our artwork to a number of different shows and competitions for judging. Fortunately, the art center asked me if January would work and it did."
    The only places to regularly see student artwork is at Bernardi's II or in the hallways at the high school. For that reason, Vogt said he is excited about the opportunity to showcase the work. He hopes that the exhibit at the art center will help give his student some local recognition.
    "It's really hard for them to get local recognition for their hard work unless they participate in art shows or competitions," Vogt said. "We've been fortunate enough to hang work at Bernardi's for the last five or six years, but there is a lot more great artwork created by our students. So, it's nice to be able to showcase some of that."
    In preparation for the show, Vogt asked every student in his AP Art Class to submit a piece. He also added some personal favorites. In total, he estimates about 22 student art pieces will be on display.
    "We could have had more, but the last time we did this, I think I overwhelmed the art center a little bit," Vogt said. "So, I wanted to cut back on my number of submissions."
    Vogt hopes that students will show up to take part in the public reception on Saturday.
    "It's just cool to experience a reception and see your work hung up amongst a whole bunch of other students' work," Vogt said. "I'm trying to get the students as much local exposure as possible because not everybody knows about all the great stuff they're doing."
    In particular, students Josie Noonan, Samantha Sipe and Nicolle Leon-Araujo will have multiple pieces on display. Noonan, a senior, said she has been interested in art since she was a child.
    "My grandmother always enjoyed drawing and coloring books, so that was always an activity we enjoyed together at her house," Noonan said. "She gave me old drawing books to look at and I've been enjoying art for as long as I can remember."
    Noonan plans to study art in college, so taking part in Vogt's AP Art Class is a big deal to her. She said she really appreciates the opportunity to showcase some of her artwork at the art center.
    "There are a lot of students here at the high school who are good at drawing but have never taken an art class before," Noonan said. "I hope this art show inspires them to look into some of the opportunities available."
    Sipe, a junior, said she hopes people will be impressed by the art they see during the showcase.
    "I know a lot of people come to see our sports, but they don't always have the opportunity to see the art that we create," she said. "This is a great opportunity for me and others to share our artwork with the community in a public setting."