High class: Nevada Union created an art gallery, which will be open to the public for special events during the school year | TheUnion.com

High class: Nevada Union created an art gallery, which will be open to the public for special events during the school year


What: Nevada Union’s art gallery classroom grand opening and silent auction

When: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday

Where: Nevada Union High School at the Art Lab on campus

Art galleries have occupied many spaces, but not many have laid claim to a classroom.

Nevada Union High School is disrupting that norm, establishing Art Lab, an art gallery inside the school’s former chemistry lab.

Terry Baxter, an art teacher at Nevada Union, believes when built, people will come, as he designed the gallery to remain open to all classes and to the general public for special events during the school year.

“The plan is that it becomes part of the fabric of the campus,” said Baxter. “We want other departments to use it, too.”

For the past school year, Baxter said six students have made it their senior project to raise funds and organize the art gallery’s grand opening on Friday. At the event, the public will be able to purchase art work, and sales will cycle back into the art program, said ceramics teacher, John Slavonic.

“We thought it would be a great idea to give back,” said Quinn Axelman, a student who is working on the gallery’s grand opening for his senior project.

Axelman, who has taken photography classes for the past few years at Nevada Union, said the Friday event will include a raffle, live music and other activities intended to bring the community together.

About 40 photography pictures, 25 ceramics and 35 drawings and paintings of students work will be displayed, said Axelman.

“Our role in (the event) is figuring out where we want to have the art displayed,” said Axelman.

Axelman and other students have been organizing, designing the room and collecting art work for the event. He and other students have even attended art shows in the community to get a better sense of how to host an art gallery showing.

Axelman said seniors are not graded on the event, but rather on a presentation of their work at the end of May.


Organizers for the Art Lab hope to carve out a space for a wide variety of art spectators.

“If you want to watch athletes, you can go to fields or pools or courts, but if you want to watch fine art you can go to this,” said Baxter, who came up with the idea about a year ago.

The classroom-turned-gallery has been redesigned with new floors, freshly painted walls, track lighting and two permanently lit pedestals with art work atop, said Baxter.

Early on, both art teachers acknowledged Nevada Union administrators recognizing the need for students to have a space exclusively for art.

“We’ve received a great deal of support from the administrative team from the high school,” said Slavonic. “Also a great deal of support from the maintenance crew.”

Art showings could last a month or shorter, said Baxter, and may include art from professionals outside Nevada Union. Art work from his art class will hang on the gallery’s walls, leaving projects for the entire school, and general public, to see.

The art teacher has specific gallery show ideas, including one entitled ‘the art of the notebook,’ where students view various styles of note taking. The quick feedback is exciting, said Baxter.

“Students understand immediately that their projects are open to (the) public, and what they’re doing counts.”

Baxter, who is retiring this year after 24 years at Nevada Union, said the art gallery has nothing to do with his legacy. For him, it’s every day that counts.

“In 10 years, what are my students going to remember?” he asked. They probably won’t remember much art.

“They’ll remember little bits and pieces of relationship that we have and there’s no counting days on that. It’s just, ‘okay, we’re here today, let’s do this. We’re here tomorrow, let’s do this.’”

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

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