Urbandale Unplugged

The Student News Site of Urbandale High School

Urbandale Unplugged

Urbandale Unplugged

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The 2024 Burbs Art Show

Urbandale offers many visual arts classes at this school, starting from the obligatory “art expo” to classes like 3D art, ceramics, and photography. Despite having so many options, there is one event that brings them all together: The Burbs Art Show.

The Burbs art show is an event involving eight schools around the area, with each getting to send in 20 pieces of art throughout 24 different categories. Some of the categories submitted this year include oil paint, photography, acrylic, colored pencil, and graphite among many others. All of the art gets displayed for everyone and judges to see. At the end of the competition the host school’s art teachers hand out trophies to all the winners.

I have many friends in art, and I hear about this contest every year from them. This year, I decided that I was going to tag along and see what it was really all about. First though, I had to get the art experience.

This whole idea stemmed from the fact that I am the least visual artsy person I know. Just a couple of weeks before The Burbs Show, I drew a ‘portrait’ of my friend Chloe Trotter at her house – just for fun! – and she joked that I should submit it for Burbs. The portrait- or really, the abstract mass of shapes on the paper- was truly insulting, but after another few hours of laughing at it, we both decided to work together to get me into Burbs. If anything, I thought, it would be a fun experience.

I started off my journey by sitting in on my friend’s art class. I got to see close up how it worked, having never taken one before, and it was pretty fun! Everyone was working on their own projects, some vastly different from others, and their teacher Mr Laizure would walk around and comment on their work. 

He also gave a speech about the art show, saying that “Last time I had the feeling some people were really disappointed if they didn’t win an award. If you go to a show and you don’t win an award, does that really mean anything?” He explained that with 8 schools and 20 pieces each, there would be about 160 students, 160 entries, and that just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean that the experience wasn’t important. “If it were up to me, we would want more students to go…than 20,” he said, “But most schools can’t afford that.”

Laizure also mentioned that he had spoken with Mr. Kimble and Mr. Peterson about possibly having an art show just for Urbandale seniors to show off their work, since it’s all important but not everyone gets selected for the Burbs art show.

With all of these things in mind, permission slips were handed out and handed back in, the week went on as normal, and we quickly approached the day of the event. All students parked at the parking garage near the food court entrance of Merle Hay Mall and gathered around one of the giant canvases assigned to us to paint Urbandale’s mural.

Some students took leadership roles immediately, trying to decide what would be put on the mural and who would draw what. Some early ideas were very creative, such as a Mount Rushmore with the President’s faces replaced with all three art teachers and Mr. Carver. Unfortunately, most ideas weren’t attained simply because people didn’t want to draw something huge by themselves.

Urbandale students work together to finish the piece.

Instead, people decided to go with the flow and start drawing, which ended up being the best idea anyone could have come up with. With everyone working together on different pieces, things slowly began to come together. After a large chameleon was drawn on the canvas, the Urbandale Park Zoo was created.

In addition to large letters at the top saying “Greetings from Urbandale,” flowers, pigs, chameleons, cats, birds, butterflies, chickens and of course Urbie himself were drawn on. A myriad of art styles all came together and created a beautiful mural. But time was beginning to run out.

Throughout the process of the mural, students would get up to vote on their favorite art piece at the exhibit for the Best in Center award. After this was voted on, everyone was to meet in the food court for the winners in all categories. Urbandale students raced against the clock to finish the mural in time, sharing plates of paint and dividing the work wherever people could squeeze in. For a while everyone was one cohesive painting machine, and by the time we had to go, the mural was almost completely finished.

Emboldened by the work already put in and how good it looked despite not having a plan, Urbandale went on to have an even better experience at the awards ceremony. All together we won 11 awards, with one person winning two awards and one art piece having been submitted by two people. When it came time for the Best in Center award at the very end, energy was high.

Junior Chloe Trotter’s twice award winning piece “Sunset Color Scatter”

Junior Chloe Trotter was called up, having the most votes out of anyone in the show for her oil painting piece “Sunset Color Scatter.” With this final win and many different emotions varying throughout the students, we went back to finish the mural and left to go back to the school.

In the end, I think that I learned a lot about art. It’s not the winning or the losing or the competition that matters, because the most fun I – or anybody- had was painting the mural. It was a very ‘see what happens’ approach, where you could paint whatever you wanted and people loved it. A mess of a bunch of random animals and plants thrown on a canvas, but nobody cared that it wasn’t super organized. As senior Gavin Moore said, “my favorite part was having an awesome party with all my friends. I love the party.” In all honesty, that might just be what arts all about. The experience with your friends to express yourself and to just have fun.


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About the Contributor
Miley Seliquini
Miley Seliquini is a junior at Urbandale High School. She’s a part of the band and choir programs at her school, as well as being heavily involved in theater. Miley enjoys writing and playing the tuba in her free time, and above all loves spending time with her friends.
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