AAPS students honored at Neutral Zone art exhibit

George Evans' award-winning ceramics.
George Evans’ award-winning ceramics.


AAPS high school students received five of the six prizes in Neutral Zone’s recent 33rd annual Potential Art Exhibit showcasing the work of Washtenaw County high school artists.

The exhibit opened with a reception and awards ceremony attended by a crowd of around 250 people on April 24, and was then open to the public the following week.

More than 300 pieces of art were submitted for the show from 12 area high schools, including Pioneer, Huron, Skyline, Community and Pathways for Success. The art was juried by Sabrina Nelson from the College of Creative Studies. Sixty pieces were selected for the exhibit featuring a diverse representation of media, including jewelry, ceramics, printmaking, and photography.

Prizes totaling $600 were awarded to the following artists:

George Evans (Pioneer) – Best in Show

Abe Cone (Chelsea) – Best in 2D

Cassie Wolley (Pioneer) – Best in 3D

Ada Banks (Community) – Best in Photography

Irene Wei (Pioneer) – Senior Portfolio Winner

This was the first year the Neutral Zone hosted Potential. The event originated with the Ann Arbor Art Center, but they asked the Neutral Zone to carry on its tradition and partnership with the schools.

As with all programs at Neutral Zone, Potential was teen driven. A youth advisory board of seven teens—all AAPS high school students—met weekly with Neutral Zone’s visual arts coordinator, Mary Thiefels and Steve Coron, art teacher at Community High School, who served as the teacher liaison. The group planned, promoted, installed and worked the show which they renamed “Potential in Exile”.

New this year was a free matting workshop sponsored by Format Framing for teen artists and teachers.

Other exhibit sponsors include the JF Ervin Foundation, Mary and Art Schuman, the Dan Cameron Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor, Masco, Toyota Calty Design Research, Menlo Innovations, Community Television Network (CTN) and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Teens interested in helping to plan next year’s Potential Art Exhibit should contact Mary Thiefels at thiefels@neutral-zone.org.


Opening night reception crowd gathered for the awards presentation
Opening night reception crowd gathered for the awards presentation

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