2015 Art Gala: That All May See

An extravagant galleria of art, on display for all to see


Mara Revitsky, Editor

“I am an artist; my job is to make people see,” said Mary Martha Himler, one of the teachers who started Greater Latrobe’s art collection. Himler’s original pieces, sketches, and palettes are on display at the entrance of the Center for Student Creativity.
Art is an integral part in shaping the way a person’s mind works. Art forces one to look at situations or problems from a different perspective to better understand the big picture. Art is also a form of self-expression, and Latrobe students express themselves every year in the chosen artwork they add to the art collection.
Starting in 1936, Himler and James R. Beatty began the student-selected art collection at Latrobe. “Himler and Beatty stressed the original quality of art,” said Mrs. Barbara Nakles, Art Conservation Trust Chair.
The one of a kind art is all “exposure to original, hand crafted art,” said Mrs. Jessica Golden, the Director for the Center of Student Creativity and Friend of the Arts.
Golden also said, “Art is something you can’t quantify. Students love the art and art carries you through life. There is something for everyone.”
On the evening of November 5, 2015, over 500 community members, artists, student council members, the high school’s Jazz Band, student pianists, volunteer students from the foods classes, and GLSD faculty gathered in the high school auditorium and Center for Student Creativity for the Art Conservation Trust’s 23rd annual Art Gala.
All proceeds from the event are used to restore and maintain the art collection. This year’s event had a big attendance according to Mrs. Barbara Nakles, Art Conservation Trust Chair.
“This event is really a huge homecoming for the community,” said Nakles. According to her, three quarters of the people in attendance were alumni from Greater Latrobe.
“Once you take part it in, it’s yours forever,” said Nakles. A sense of ownership is experienced by every student that has ever selected the artwork because it is a representation of that student, the place they are at in life, and the world at that time.
One of these past students, Ray Mt. Joy, class of 1963, came to Latrobe from The Woodlands, Texas. Mt. Joy and his wife, Pam, were recognized as Platinum Underwriters, or financers, for this year’s gala.
Five years ago, when Mt. Joy’s son was in high school, Mt. Joy and his family were inspired to create an art collection similar to Latrobe’s at his son’s school. “So far, the students have acquired 25 total paintings and the collection has been very successful,” said Mt. Joy.
Before the student presentations began, all of the Greater Latrobe School District art teachers, past and present, were honored with an Art Educator Recognition.
All attendants of the gala received these presentations by Bobby Fetter, Meghan Henderson, Allison Himler, Geina Shaker, Autumn Stemmler, and Nicholas Wetzel from the elementary schools; Nina Modecki and Kaitlin Suzuki from the junior high; and Josh Baumann, Lara Daigle, Megan Douds, Ally Kornides, Maddy Kornides, Layne Lazor, Casey Markle, Jason Starr, Jessica Tatone, and Ashley Taylor from the senior high.
Once the presentations concluded, the audience got the chance to vote for their favorite artwork and the students’ favorite artworks were announced.
The audience choices included Tenacity by Maura Koehler Keeney, Oelshlager Farm by William M. Hoffman, 5th & Craig by Joseph Ryznar, The Hero by Fr. Robert Keffer. OSB, Down the Road and Around the Bend by Tami Louco, and Behind the Chicken Wire by Kathy Sartoris Rafferty.
The top five student selected art works were ToonScape by Joseph Schildkamp; Oelshlager Farm; Looking Good by Jerry McClure; The Hero; and People of New Guinea: Ghost Men II by Lydia Mack.
“Art changes culture,” said Golden, and Latrobe’s culture will always include the art collection.