Young curators find their voice |

Young curators find their voice

Theresa Hamilton
Director of Communication
Garfield Re-2 School District
Celeste Urenda with her submission for the Aspen Art Museum's Young Curators of the Roaring Fork show.
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Rifle High School senior Celeste Urenda has found her voice — a raucous, strident, joyful, powerful voice that bounds in strokes of oil-based paint across a formerly blank canvas.

“I have been told I have an explosive personality,” she grinned.

Her painting illustrates the child-version of herself wreaking havoc in a firestorm of activity with the things that she holds dear to her heart because they involve family — video games, palm trees and milk. The International Baccalaureate art student is one of 21 Rifle High School students and 11 Coal Ridge High School students that have submitted their work in the Aspen Art Museum Young Curators of the Roaring Fork art exhibit for judging and possible inclusion in an exhibit later this year.

The Young Curators of the Roaring Fork show is unique, said RHS art instructor Mandy Klauck, because students from across the valley not only participate in the show, but develop the theme, curate and judge the show with support from the Aspen Art Museum.

“It is a really cool program,” said Klauck. “It is student driven, and it is a real honor to have your work chosen and displayed in the world-renowned Aspen Art Museum.”

This year, artists were asked to submit pieces that represented “their voice.” The artwork can be in any medium, 2D or 3D. Artists are also asked to submit a 200-word essay describing their submission.

Coal Ridge High School senior Justin Allen created a winged track shoe with the Coal Ridge logo out of clay and he says it represents him perfectly.

“I love pottery, I love track and I love Coal Ridge,” he explained. “When you add the wings to the shoe, it becomes so much more than just a shoe. It becomes hope to guide you to your future and to keep pursuing your goals.”

He had more than his fair share of trials with this project.

“Because I was trying to balance it, the piece kept falling in on its self,” he explained. “It fell apart eight times before I was able to get it right. It took about two months to complete the project.”

Rifle High School senor Carrie Bascom’s piece tugs at the heart-strings. Her three-dimension heart is crafted out of odds-and-ends of her father’s tool drawers. He passed away a little more than a year ago.

“This is my way of honoring him,” she explained of her artwork, adorned with nuts and bolts, keys and locks, nails and butterflies.

Last year, the Young Curators of the Roaring Fork art exhibit accepted about 14 pieces from the dozens submitted. Students will learn later this spring if they have been accepted and if their art will be displayed in the Aspen Art Museum.

“I’m so proud of the integrity and the work ethic that our students have put into their pieces,” added RHS art instructor Tara Charlesworth. “Even if they are not chosen, they have a creation that speaks to their heart.”

To see more images and essays from the Garfield Re-2 submissions to the Aspen Art Museum Young Curators of the Roaring Fork art exhibit competition go to and click on students in the top rail.

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