Gcc Students Display Their Artwork

Folk outsider art among the highlights


Art comes in lots of forms.

For proof, consider the wonderful variety of art on display during the Payson Campus of Gila Community College Seventh Annual Student Art Show and Sale on Dec. 6.

Original work included photographs, oil paintings, ceramics, paper crafts and folk art and outsider art.


A man browses the work of student photographers during the Payson Campus Gila Community College Seventh Annual Student Art Show and Sale on Dec. 6.

“There’s all this great art the students have produced and we like to showcase their art once a year at Christmas time so people can come and see the art, buy gifts and see what classes are available that they might be interested in taking,” said Pam Butterfield, the GCC Payson Campus dean.

“There’s a lot of talent. It’s very impressive to see what the students are able to do. And the teachers are so talented. We’re really lucky to have the instructors that we have here.”

One of the first pieces of art visitors to the show came across was a train made of paper products.

“Liz Monte made that train,” said Shannon Bielke, instructor for paper crafts. “It’s made out of an oatmeal box, and Velveeta box, and Pringles can, and toilet paper rolls, and bullet casings, and old bobbins, and paint and paper. It’s very cool. There are lots of different things to do with paper.”

The non-traditional outsider art included decorated cakes. And paper-mâché was a big medium in that genre.


The folk outsider art section at the annual show featured a wide variety of exhibits, including this paper-mâché bust made of newspaper.

“Folk outsider art is the art of untrained artists,” said instructor Elissa Aleshire. “I encourage all my students to find materials that help them express themselves. It’s art that is outside the limitations and the regular discipline of art school.

“Paper-mâché is one of their beginning materials. They start out with that and it gets them going.”

A wide variety of pieces transformed the classroom featuring folk outsider art into a gallery of imagination.

“They are free to express themselves as openly as they can,” Aleshire said. “And it really works pretty well. I’m really proud of their production. They have a lot to say and they say it freely when they aren’t hindered by the feeling that they have to do it the way we’ve always been told we have to do it.”

She said outsider art has taken the art world by storm.

“It is a big, growing area in art now,” Aleshire said. “There’s a lot of outsider work by artists that are self-taught or are outside the area of art that is what we consider to be the discipline of learned art in art school art or university-taught art.”

She said some of her older students are flourishing in the arena.

“It works really well, especially with people who finally have the time to work and have a lot to say and haven’t been educated enough,” she said.


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