Next month, Hoover High School will welcome the community to Studio 525, a new student-run art gallery inside the high school.

NORTH CANTON A year ago, a small room in Hoover High School stood dark and unadorned, used mainly as a passthrough between the hallway and the busy art classrooms behind. 

Now, that space is bright with (faux) hardwood floors and a growing collection of art on display. 

Next month, Hoover High School will welcome the community to Studio 525, a new student-run art gallery inside the high school. 

The gallery is the combined effort of Christopher Triner, chair of the North Canton City School District art department, and his students.

"We had this awkward room that never really had a purpose," Triner said, noting that Studio 525 was once a room with typewriters for secretaries. "We thought it would be neat to have a K-through-12 art gallery. That's how we came up with this."

Studio 525 allows North Canton art students to display their work in a professional gallery. 

It's also an opportunity for high school art students to learn the real-world work of being an artist, Triner said.

"They'll know, beginning to end, how to operate an art gallery. They'll learn to curate their own show," he said.

Creation

At the end of the last school year, Triner received a $1,000 grant from the North Canton City Schools Education Endowment Fund. 

The grant was seed money for the studio — enough to get things rolling. Students pitched in to help the gallery come to fruition. 

They worked together to come up with a name — 525 reflects Hoover's address (525 7th St. NE) — and had a "New York" feel, Triner said.

"I think the kids were Hoovered out," he laughed.

Students picked out the (faux) hardwood floors and poured over paint samples for the wall.

Kaylee Smith, a Hoover senior and graphic artist, designed the studio logo and flyers for the upcoming senior show. 

Carley Frank, another Hoover senior, designed T-shirts and sweatshirts and did publicity for the gallery with the help of her dad.

Students sold the shirts to raise funds for the gallery. Folks jumped at the chance to buy one, Frank said. 

On Fridays, they see teachers sporting the Studio 525 shirts, Frank said, adding that some said they were happy to have something orange-and-black that wasn't sports related.

"Definitely the support has been really great," she said.

The Hoover Sideliners, the district's booster club, provided almost matching funds, Triner said.

He also approached other community organizations for assistance, and the school district paid for upgraded lighting. The district's other art teachers have offered suggestions and assistance.

The studio borrowed a smart TV from the video production department to allow students to display and critique their digital portfolios. Triner is still looking for donations to purchase one for the gallery.

One of the biggest donations to the gallery was serendipitous. One afternoon, someone called wanting to donate $4,000 worth of movable gallery walls that they couldn't sell. "It was a complete fluke," Triner said.

With that, all the pieces and parts came together and the small, dark room was transformed. 

"I can't even remember what it used to look like," said Senior Nicole Malcolm.

Art world

The studio will have its opening May 10, 6-8 p.m., at Hoover' first Senior Show.

"The promise was that (their) big senior show in May would be the crowning moment," Triner said.

Senior students will curate the show, as well as prepare the artwork for display. It means they've had to learn new skills, such as matting and framing. 

While students have had art in galleries before, this is the first they'll be doing all the behind-the-scenes work themselves.

"It feels more like we're showing off our own artwork rather than a teacher showing it off for us," said senior Caiya Sanchez-Strauss. "We actually have to manage the whole process. And it prepares us for the real world."

A quartet of student musicians will play for the opening, and Hoover's culinary arts students will cater.

The show is the first time that Hoover will display all of its senior's artwork in one gallery show.

"We want this to really be a celebration for them and what they've done over the years," Triner said. "And we feel like when you're in athletics, you have a senior night... In music, they have senior shows. They have all kinds of opportunities."

"We want to have that same opportunity for our kids. Because it's really reflective of what will happen in college and university. You'll have a final show," he said.

Students will also give tours of the gallery to outside groups and have an opportunity to discuss the meaning behind their work.

"I think that's important for our students to do. To fully understand the depth of why they're making what they're making," Triner said.

In the future, the gallery will be used for more students shows, from kindergarten to high school. And Triner has plans for an annual alumni show, where former art students can display a new piece of work and talk with current students about being a working artist.

"They'll learn different dimensions of what art is other than just the making," he said.

Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or jessica.holbrook@cantonrep.com On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.