Coronado students take a crack at glasswork at South Point expo

The recent Glass Craft & Bead Expo at the South Point was an opportunity for some local students to show off their talents as well as hone them.

The expo, held March 30 to April 3, offered daily workshops that normally cost hundreds of dollars to attend, but two students from Coronado High School, 1001 Coronado Center Drive, received scholarships to a class of their choosing.

"It was so much fun, I can’t exaggerate," said junior Nicola Kerley, who attended a beginning lamp work class.

During the class she made a small cat, a Medusa head and frogs on ice cubes.

Kerley, 17, said she likes the challenge of working with glass and hopes someday to be able to buy a kiln, an of oven for glass.

Coronado has offered glass art classes for about eight years and is one of the few high schools in the Las Vegas Valley to do so.

"I feel really privileged," Kerley said. "I was shocked we even had a glass class."

Her classmate, senior Lauren Bokelmann, attended a dichroic glass workshop with her scholarship.

Coronado teacher Jessica Sellers said her design crafts class is probably the most expansive glass program in Clark County.

Every year she sets up a table at the expo to display her students’ work, which is mostly mosaics. Some students put their work up for sale, but most want to keep it.

All of Sellers’ students sell their work at least once a year at an annual charity auction, where money is donated to n o-k ill a nimal s helters.

"We want people to see how strong our glass program is," Sellers said. "It shows the students’ talent and offers them a lot of exposure."

Such exposure is important, she said, because they have to rely mostly on donated materials.

Glass is a less popular art medium in part because of the cost. Kilns cost hundreds, and glass adds up quickly, too.

Sellers volunteers throughout the year to teach workshops for other Clark County School District teachers to help spread the art form, since professional classes are expensive.

Kathryn Skjei, an art teacher at Silverado High School, 1650 Silver Hawk Ave., has taken several of Sellers’ classes and plans to incorporate some glass work into her art classes next fall.

"There’s just something special about glass," Skjei said. "I’m one of the newbies coming in, and I’m hoping to keep up the tradition."

The tradition, it seems, is fading.

Skjei said she has talked to a few of her colleagues at other schools who are losing their jobs because such classes are not going to be offered next year.

"You can’t stress how important art is in the schools," Skjei said. "It helps people think out of the box.

"I know people are under the gun, but I also know that every Nobel Prize winner and every scientist had artistic classes in their life."

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at jmosier@viewnews.com or 224-5524.

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