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Cypress Lake High School hosts first artist scholarship show since Ian

Students and art teachers all take group photo at amphitheater of Cypress Lake High School
Posted at 11:07 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-24 13:59:20-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers became the canvas for the school's top student artists as they showcased their work in a bid for scholarships offered by a local nonprofit. The Fort Myers Beach Art Association, which has been a part of the local art community since 1951, provided some of the scholarships. Hurricane Ian destroyed their gallery on Estero Island, which had stood there for 54 years.

"We usually have 200 members, right now we have a hundred, a lot of our artists have lost everything," Zeoli shared.

Now, the Art Association is fundraising to match FEMA's reimbursement funds. For the first time since Hurricane Ian, this year's student scholarship show is being hosted at Cypress Lake High School.

Patricia Bonwell, the head of the art department, shared the trends she's noticed while teaching art here for over three decades.

"Art is also escapism, they may be reflecting their emotions, in the work, but not a concrete image of the hurricane devastation, which is really interesting considering how many of our kids really suffered through and were homeless for weeks or months."

The show featured a variety of artworks, each telling its unique story. Student artist Rae Innarelli shared her inspiration,

"I'm very inspired by people telling their own stories and how they feel, I also like doing details."

At the end of the event, the announcement of Emily Morris as the first-place winner drew applause. Morris's work was inspired by social issues such as homelessness and accessibility.

"The homeless spikes that are put up, or the fact that most countertops aren't accessible to people in wheelchairs, I just liked to show people that, because I don't think it's something that's talked about enough," Morris explained.

"Once I'm done with art, I don't know, I give it to people, it's just the process for me," Morris said, when asked about the future of her award-winning art.

A total of $4,000 in scholarships was awarded to the student artists.