LOMBARD – One of Sydney Wilson's graphite pencil drawings incorporates images of a rib cage, a carnation, leaves and butterfly wings.
The work attempts to explain resurrection and life after death, according to the Jackson Middle School seventh-grader.
"I was thinking even after tragedy and drama there may be good things that come out of it," she said.
That's just one of 241 pieces of artwork selected for today's inaugural Student Art Show at Schafer School in Lombard.
The show, sponsored by the District 45 Parent Teacher Association Council, will feature work by students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
For most of the students, it will be their artistic debut.
"I've never been to something like this," said Wilson, who will exhibit two drawings and a sculpture at the show. "I'm looking forward to seeing people's reactions to my drawings and looking at other people's drawings and seeing what they created."
Paring down the 445 submissions was challenging for Tracy Vroman and her small team. A District 45 PTA member, Vroman spearheaded the inaugural show with help from two local fine artists, Paulina Jimenez and Wendee Goles, both of Villa Park.
Together, the trio waded through the submissions, arranged to have the students matte their artwork, and have been staging Schafer School for today's big show from 6 to 8 p.m. Vroman planned to make final preparations after school today.
"We really tried to include as many pieces as we could," Vroman said. "There were great pieces that we couldn't (include) because of space and time constraints."
Artwork poured in from all of the district's eight schools and grade levels in three categories: visual arts (drawings, paintings and collages), photography and sculptures. No one submitted anything for a fourth category, film, but Vroman predicts that might change in future years with the increased access to video-making tools such as iPhones and tablets.
The Student Art Show takes the place of Reflections, a national PTA program that the district participated in for the last several years. Vroman recently had played a key role in organizing those events as well.
This year's show was a much bigger undertaking, Vroman said. She's hoping to recruit more volunteers for the sequel next spring. A survey will be available at the show for potential volunteers to express their interest.
"It's nice that this is all just local, but there have been a lot of hours and blood, sweat and tears being put into this," said Vroman, who also serves on the District 45 Board of Education.
The experience has more than just Vroman thinking about the future. Wilson has a full slate of projects planned for the summer break – portraits and nature drawings, mostly. She’s also considering focusing her studies on the arts.
“I really, really enjoy art,” she said. “I want to do this later in life and not just have it be a hobby, but if that's what happens, I'm OK with that.”
If you go
What: First annual Student Art Show
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Schafer School, 700 E. Pleasant Lane, Lombard
More info: www.d45.dupage.k12.il.us