By Jan Landau Lewin
It is Friday afternoon after 3, and 20 or so teens are clustered in an art room at the Abernathy Arts Center. Their drawings are spread out all over the floor, and there is tension in the students’ eyes, which are all on instructor John Horne.
“They are having their final critique for the annual youth summer art weeks exhibit,” whispers Lauren Bernazza, the center’s coordinator.
Mothers and whining siblings stand in a nearby hallway, eager to get going to beat the Friday-afternoon traffic on Johnson’s Ferry. But it is clear that the students are completely captivated and have no desire to leave a minute before they have to.
The student exhibit is one of the most popular ones during the year, according to Bernazza. It opens July 30 and is on display through Aug. 20. It will include more than 100 pieces of hand-built or wheel-thrown pottery, paintings, drawings, jewelry, animal sculpture, cartoons and mixed-media work.
The works are accepted from students from all the summer camp classes, including this class of teenagers, Bernazza said.
“The kids come from Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Brookhaven, East Cobb and Roswell with their parents or grandparents to take pictures with their pieces,” Bernazza said. “The show gives the students even more confidence to continue their art.”
Sandy Springs resident Justin Cohen, 13, examined his very lifelike drawing of two zebras.
Asked how he could get such a realistic drawing, he said that he learned a technique in class using a grid of lines to get realistic proportions in any drawing.
“I usually draw portraits and animals,” he explained. “I wanted my drawings to look real.”
Now in the seventh grade, he took the class, he said, to help build a portfolio to apply to get into the North Springs Charter High School fine arts magnet program.
Kayle Rothenberg, 14, also a resident of Sandy Springs, says she became serious about art at age 11.
“I wanted to make art in memory of my grandmother, who recently passed away,” said Rothenberg.
She wasn’t sure which of her pictures she was going to put into the final show, but she had it down to a choice between the drawing of zebras and a drawing of a rose.