Nichlas Hart, SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School junior, poses with his piece, “Transfigure of the Shell.” The artwork on display at the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Design’s Annual Regional High School Juried Art Exhibition, Feb. 8-16.

EDWARDSVILLE - Rebirth is the theme of Nichlas Hart’s pencil drawing, which was one of 100 pieces of art selected to be showcased during Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Annual Regional High School Juried Art Exhibition, Feb. 8-16. A total of 200 pieces were considered for the show.

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Hart, a junior at the SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS), said his piece, “Transfigure of the Shell,” was created out of a sense of him releasing negative emotions.

“During the time of its creation, I had so many things going on in my everyday life, to the point where everything just became too much,” explained Hart. “I couldn’t do much of anything but listen to music. While listening, I fell in love with the album portals by Melanie Martinez and its visuals. The album and its visuals inspired me to make a version of myself within the world of the album. I put everything I felt onto the canvas. It was a way of letting everything go and starting anew.”

“I want the observer to realize that the situation they are in is not forever,” he continued. “When it’s over, they can be in an environment where they can be happy and be around people who truly love them.”

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“Sometimes you have to take the time to focus on yourself and your own mental well-being, in order to figure out what is best for you” shared Hart. “At times you also have to take a break from people, and that’s perfectly fine.”

Hart says his drawings are more than sketches but a way to tell a story. “Everything I draw has a meaning, with something I can relate to,” said Hart.

The annual art exhibition is sponsored by the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Art and Design.

Hart’s piece, “Transfigure of the Shell,” is being submitted to the 2024 Saint Louis Art Museum’s Student Gallery for consideration.

The SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School is a school-of-choice for families in the East St. Louis School District 189. The mission of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School is to prepare students who are career- and college-ready upon graduation. To achieve this mission, the school and its staff will positively impact the educational and economic lives of East St. Louis, Illinois youth through individualized instruction in core academic subjects, exploration of career interests and aptitudes, assistance in realizing students’ talents, high academic goals, and expectations that graduates will become competitive employees for the 21st century.

The SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior (SEHHB) prepares students in a wide range of fields including public health, exercise science, nutrition, instructional technology, psychology, speech-language pathology and audiology, educational administration, and teaching. Faculty members engage in leading-edge research, which enhances teaching and enriches the educational experience. The SEHHB supports the community through on-campus clinics, outreach to children and families, and a focused commitment to enhancing individual lives across the region.

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