JACKSON TWP.  Students from the Jackson School for the Arts (JSA) hosted the grand opening exhibit of the new The Meraki Gallery on Sept. 21. The student-run gallery invited JSA alumni to exhibit their artworks.

Students selected the Greek word as the name because it references the soul, creativity and love that gets put into something such as great artworks. Many parents, friends and family of the artists on display and members of the community stopped by to help open the gallery.

"The turnout is great, we have around 30 pieces on exhibit this evening all from JSA alumni," Art teacher and faculty advisor for the gallery Lisa Ayres Suber said. "Students worked with Max Burton, the executive director of the Canton Museum of Art, to design and set up the gallery. They worked really hard and did a great job."

The Meraki Gallery will become a permanent part of the high school. It’s located off the Commons area and across from the Jackson Center for the Performing Arts. The gallery will have co-directors and co-curators. This year’s teams include:

Student directors Madyson Bostic and Avery Freels, both juniors, and student curators Freels and junior Mary Visco.

The gallery will continue to be managed by the students, who will assume all the administrative and artistic roles including directors, curators, installers and marketing.

Sharon Teuscher, a JSA alumni, had her artworks on exhibit for the grand opening. She lives in Columbus and is creative manager for a public relations firm called The Buzz Maker.

"I also freelance hand letterings, illustrations and paintings," Teuscher said. "I’ve also recently illustrated a children’s book written by Isabel Thottam. The book is called 'The Labradoodle Who Lost His Doodle,' she said.

Two of the JSA students involved with the gallery this year were Christine Parshall and Bostic. They both said the experience of setting up the gallery and holding the opening has been exciting and a learning experience.

"It’s been crazy and it’s been humbling because being able to see the products produced by former JSA students has been great fun and educational," Parshall said.

Bostic said the gallery is a way to showcase the visual artists involved with JSA.

"The band and the theatre group all have a way to showcase the work they do, the gallery will serve as a defined space and as a way for the visual artists to showcase our craft and what we work so hard for," Bostic said. "Working with the alumni has been an eye opener. For artists like me who started working by drawing stick figures and to see the works these artists have created is amazing. The exhibit shows what’s at the end of the tunnel for artists like myself."