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Fourth Annual Wunderkind exhibit showcases region's youthful talent

This year's Wunderkind show at the BAC proves once again that the life of teenagers involves more than just driving fast, Fubu gear and beer.

Opening March 14 at the Business of Art Center, the show features the work of 12 area high-school students. In conjunction with the Kennedy Center's Imagination Celebration, the exhibition serves the dual purpose of showcasing some of the region's best high school art and instructing the students how to put together a professional art show from writing an artist's statement to submitting slides, doing the press and hanging the show.

The 12 students met at the BAC each week for eight weeks to learn the ins and outs of the art world. These meetings, facilitated by Rodney Wood and Amy Clay of the BAC, provided them with hands-on skills they'll need to become professional artists.

Selected from a pool of 60 other students in the Pikes Peak region, these artists have demonstrated an ability to make the creative process an integral part of their daily lives. Morgan Calderini (Pine Creek), a mixed-media fanatic, finds art in unassuming places. "I can't pick up a magazine without being conscious of the use of typography, white space and illustrations," she said.

As art is always a part (if not an interpretation) of the world in which we live, one might expect a lot of puerile commentary about current events from a high-school exhibit. But this show is pleasingly void of such banalities. Instead, the artists seemed to focus on introspection into themselves and their habitat.

Matt Adams (Coronado), entered a dozen photographs documenting the streets and forms of the increasingly urban landscape of Colorado Springs. Finding unconventional vantage points, his black-and-white photographs capture the form of commonplace items in our growing city, such as a concrete pipeline funneling creek water.

Probably the most impressive facet of the exhibition is the students' grasp and understanding of various media outside the traditional mediums of painting drawing and sculpture. Digital photography, metal-smithing, installations and mixed media are all part of the diversity represented here.

Clint Bargers (Air Academy) entered a number of plaster-sculpture-mixed-with-old-furniture pieces that are sure to raise a few contemplative eyebrows. One of his pieces, "Pokes Your Libido," is a green thrift-store chair with a strange visage cast into the seat that seems to be licking ... ice cream?

And if that's not enough to wet your whistle, the Colorado Springs Youth Conservatory Jazz Ensemble will perform during the opening, and there's a show at the Garage next door titled Something Weird This Way Comes, a juried exhibition of mostly surrealist works by local artists that perfectly complements the Wunderkind exhibit.

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