Art show brings out Port Arthur Independent School District student talent; don’t miss it

Published 12:16 am Thursday, January 18, 2024

Datran Hanchett’s sculpture of a fiery red heart with a single eye in the middle with legs wearing tiny heels is powerful imagery for the senior at Memorial High School.

The heart is standing over a row of eyes, or souls, showing “women can rule over anything,” Hanchett said.

The sculpture is one of more than 100 pieces of art created by students at Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson middle schools, Memorial 9th Grade Academy and Memorial High School on display at Texas Artist Museum through Jan. 26.

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Hanchett’s vision for her work evolved, starting with a plain eye patterned after the cover of one of musical artist Bad Bunny’s albums.

But Hanchett is not a plain and simple kind of girl, she said. So she made the creation into a woman. She titled her work “Man Eater” after a song.

Pam Trosclair, interim director of the museum, had the idea of sponsoring an art show featuring Port Arthur Independent School District students after talking with a local art teacher.

The first such collaboration was in 2023 with 60 pieces of art shown. The show was moved to January this year and almost doubled the amount of works submitted for display, she said.

Trosclair is Port Arthur proud, she said, and excited to display the talents of local students.

The art show features sculptures as well as drawings and paintings. The works range from winter scenes to Christmas scenes, still life to landscape and more.

Alyssa Roy, art teacher at the 9th grade campus, stopped to view one section of artwork and realized some were created by the students she had last year.

“I see some of their stuff over there and the progression is amazing,” Roy said.

The art teacher gave her students some examples and had them make the work their own by adding embellishments.

Amiya Cooper, a 7th grade student at Jefferson Middle School, created a peaceful landscape of trees.

Cooper started with pencil and once she got going, the work began to flow, she said.

Her teacher, Phyllis McCall, gave her direction that led to the finished artwork.

Her mother, Lydia Walter, has seen Cooper’s talent and is always encouraging and supporting her works. The 7th grader is an honor roll student and wants to continue with art.

Texas Artist Museum is located at 3501 Cultural Center Drive in Port Arthur. For more information, call 409-498-1793.