Student works centerpiece of this Tucson art exhibit

Skylar Zannini, El Inde Arizona

For the past five years, the University of Arizona Museum of Art<> has showcased local high school students’ artwork in an exhibition titled “Our Stories.”

A view of the 2022 edition of the exhibit Our Stories: High School Artists in the gallery at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, including artworks by Layla Lopez, Audrey Newton, Amber Brenneis, équinox, and others. Photo by Christine Weir/University of Arizona Museum of Art

Students from Tucson and Pima County schools are selected by their art teachers to participate and have a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship with the UA School of Art.

Works by two students from each school are selected, and according to Tracy Brown, an art teacher at Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, “it definitely can be hard to choose.”

This is the second time Brown, who has been a teacher for almost 16 years, submitted her students’ works for the exhibit.

“It’s been great … . It’s such a good opportunity for the kids to see their work on display at a big university,” she said. “That’s a big opportunity for them.”

The exhibit was “just an idea floating around” back in 2018 when Willa Ahlschwede had been newly hired as an assistant curator at the museum. Her focus was on education and public programs.

The exhibit is open to public, private and charter schools, which select up to two artworks from their students for consideration,  Ahlschwede said, noting that there could be submissions from multiple teachers at the same school, giving more students the chance to have their work recognized.

Jill Menaugh is a 3D art teacher at Ironwood Ridge High School and has been submitting to the “Our Stories” exhibition since its launch.

“It’s such a great bridge for high school students to get to see the university and get to be a part of the art community, and kind of help bridge what comes next for them,” she said.

Menaugh said it’s also a chance to see the talent coming out of high schools.

“A lot of times, it’s way beyond expectations,” she said.

Artworks by high school artists being prepared to go on view as part of the 2023 exhibit Our Stories: High School Artists. The photo includes artworks by Allison Jennings, Melissa Cristina Large, Adrianna Torres, Nicholas Arrowsmith and others. Photo by Willa Ahlschwede/University of Arizona Museum of Art

The exhibition runs from Feb. 25 to May 20 at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1031 N. Olive Road, off East Speedway and North Park Avenue. Admission is $8. For tickets and more information, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *