By Art Haddaway

Creativity was on full display at Owasso High School last week.

The east campus held its first-ever “Share Your Story” art show on Thursday evening, where students across the district came together to showcase their artwork for locals to peruse and admire (see PHOTO gallery).

Over 1,100 art students in 6th-12th grade across OPS participated in the district’s inaugural event, which centered around the theme of “Everyone Has a Story,” coined by Superintendent Amy Fichtner at the beginning of the school year.

“It’s a simple concept with powerful implications,” Fichtner said. “Every person – student, parent, teacher, staff member – has a unique path that has created who they are. That story matters. No person’s story is better than another. If we respect each other’s stories, we will listen better.”

The show featured a variety of 2-D and 3-D pieces, from paintings and pastels to drawings and sketches to sculptures and crafts, designed by young artists representing 43 different art classes under the direction of nine inspiring teachers.

Leann Wilson, for example, displayed several paintings, including one of her favorites that portrayed a young individual looking out over a large forest of vibrant blue and purple tones.

“It’s a landscape of pretty colors, because I was in a very happy mood to make it, and I love landscapes so much as well as pine trees,” Wilson said.

Another student, Mackenzie Adams, featured a number of animal-themed portraits, incorporating embroideries and other crafts to make her creations come to life. One of her favorites illustrated the circulatory system of a baby cow.

“It shows the arteries with the red and the veins with the silvery blue,” Adams said. “That one’s probably the one that took the most time.”

The art show – which took over seven months to plan and about 12 straight hours to set up – was more than just giving students an outlet to showcase their creative talents, however. It was a chance for them to stand up for a good cause.

Kay Bratcher, Visual Arts Department chair at OHS, said she wanted to use the event as a way to empower students to share their concerns on issues such as suicide, depression, human trafficking, animal testing and bullying.

“Teenagers are brave, proud, caring people who just want to be heard,” Bratcher said. “They care about each other and they do want to make a difference in their lifetime. Art can give them this chance. It gives them a voice and a point of view and the courage to express that.

“They worked each day to problem-solve, experiment with new media, research and ultimately create something beautiful. We hope conversations happened during the show. We hope that action was taken. We hope that a life was saved.”

The art show not only helped spread the word about important social issues, but it also helped pave the way for disabled students to continue achieving their dreams.

OPS was able to give $363 to Owasso Special Olympics from donations collected at the event as well as from nine collaborative pieces that were sold during the evening. One piece of artwork created by students at the Owasso 7th Grade Center, for example, sold for $60.

“I cannot think of a better way to ‘raise the bar for the students we serve’ by spending the time to celebrate the talent and success of Visual Arts at Owasso Public Schools,” Bratcher said. “We hope to make this an annual event for our students.”

Art is a seasoned reporter of over 15 years with an extended background in writing and editing for a variety of publications and organizations.