A colorful oil pastel created by University City High School sophomore John Ruland was chosen by District 14 Senator, Brian Williams for the 2019 Senate Art Exhibit. John’s art will be displayed in the Senate Parking Garage Hallway at the State Capitol building in Jefferson City throughout 2019.
John and his classmates didn’t have to travel very far for inspiration. The group went to the U. City in Bloom gardens—located on the Balson Avenue side of the high school. His piece, Planting A Symphony, was created last summer in around six hours. It was submitted into U. City in Bloom’s contest by his art teacher, Marnie Claunch. It was only the second year that high school students were allowed to compete.
“I first heard about the Plein Air competition on a normal day in September, during drawing class with Ms. Claunch,” John said. “She always takes care to tell us about any opportunities, which is a reason I quite like her, especially as my art teacher. Urging us all to sign up, she told us about how painting ‘in plein air’ - a French expression - is an excellent way to create art from life.”
John says his father, who spent some time as a sculpture restorer and ceramicist, provided some of his earliest inspiration. He also credits his art teachers from elementary through high school with helping him to fall in love with the creative process.
“John really goes above and beyond in order to get better,” Claunch said. “He’s like a sponge, he just soaks up all the advice and even the criticism he’s given. Being the best artist he can be is what drives him.”
John, along with the other featured artists from across Missouri, will be recognized by the Missouri Art Education Association during an awards ceremony at the State Capitol building on March 11, 2019.