The Hotchkiss High School art students will host their annual art gallery opening Friday beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hotchkiss Creamery Arts Center, 165 Bridge Street. Students take their "final exam" by creating the opening, said art teacher Jamie Roeber.
In creating the opening they gain a deeper understanding of, and become more comfortable with, gallery openings and are more likely to attend them throughout their lives, said Roeber.
"This is a true student show," said Roeber, and features a wide range of mediums by students of all levels. About 80 students, or roughly half the student body, participate in the opening. Students also mat and frame their own works. All pieces are priced for sale by students and are available on the spot.
Students are also in charge of the customary food. "These students bring in the most amazing, awesome food," which borders on the culinary arts, said Roeber.
Roeber is known for giving students free rein. Rather than assign materials and specific projects, she offers a choice-based program where they pick their medium and project based on personal interests and creativity levels. Works range from fused glass and leather tooling, to true fine arts like painting and sculpture. A demonstration of Raku-firing will also take place with the help of Creamery clay studio manager David Strong.
The Creamery is not officially open, but is providing the venue as part of its community outreach efforts, said Roeber.
The evening will kick off with the Choice Independent Art unveiling of the student-made Hotchkiss cut-out art sign, life-sized cutouts where people can insert their faces into a scene related to the Hotchkiss area. This is the first of three unveilings. Crawford Montessori and Paonia students will unveil their town-specific cutouts this summer.
Jeannette Carey's band students will perform original blues music in conjunction with the opening. Students are holding interactive workshops with blues legend Otis Taylor in preparation for the event. The intent, said Carey, is to offer a workshop "where students will learn the history of the blues and also write the blues themselves," with the results being performed Friday night.
Saturday night the Creamery will present Taylor in a tribute concert honoring the late rock legend and Crawford resident, Joe Cocker. Proceeds benefit the Hotchkiss K-8 and high school art and music programs. North Fork musicians Mike Gwinn and David Snider will open at 7 p.m., and the main event begins at 8:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students at Lizzy's Market in Paonia, Hardin's Natural Foods on Rogers Mesa, and PJ's Pub in Hotchkiss; or $20 at the door. Call 872-2232 for information.