Cloquet students featured in state art exhibit

The exhibit celebrates work from student artists across Minnesota in recognition of Youth Art Month.

The Minnesota Youth Art Month exhibit features young artist from around the state. (Photo courtesy of Art Educators of Minnesota)

Imagine what others would see if they were allowed a glimpse into your psyche as a high school student.

Cloquet high school art teacher Julie Deters explained that for many people, art is a gateway into their mind and emotions. She believes creation of art often requires maturity and vulnerability.

When four of her students were recently selected to display their art in a statewide exhibit, she was filled with pride over their hard work and willingness to put their art into the world.

“We put this one-sided conversation out there and we hope that there is a response of some sort,” Deters said.

The students’ pieces are being featured in a virtual art exhibit of work from student artists across Minnesota during Youth Art Month — a nationally recognized celebration of young artists.


”Art Connects Us" is the theme of the exhibit coordinated by the Art Educators of Minnesota organization.

"Sin of Greed" by River Miller. (Photo courtesy of Cloquet High School)

‘(T)o see my very own character of my own design be chosen to be shown off makes me all warm and fuzzy inside,” Cloquet senior River Miller said.

A charcoal drawing by Miller featuring a character based on Mammon, the demonic sin of greed, was selected as one of the works for the exhibit.

He said he was pleasantly surprised when that piece was selected over one of his digital drawings that he also submitted. It is the only hand-drawn picture to be selected from the school.

The other three pieces chosen for the exhibit feature digital drawings, tediously designed on the computer by the students and all featuring different focus points.

Freshman Taiju Satomi-Defoe drew inspiration for his digital creation from the ice caves commonly found in the north.


“The way a light passes through the ice in an ice cave looks really interesting,” he said.

"Ice Cave" by Taiju Satomi-Defoe. (Photo courtesy of Cloquet High School)

Satomi-Defoe has the most experience with hand-drawing, but explained that he enjoys digital creations because they allow him to more easily color his work, giving it more life.

The other digital pieces from Cloquet students are made by seniors Annali Johnson and Elise Lehto.

"God is a Woman" by Annali Johnson. (Photo courtesy of Cloquet High School)

“There is a certain amount of beauty in those who have suffered the ugliest of our world,” Johnson said in her artist statement about her piece.


She calls it “God is a Woman,” and said it is meant to depict a strong, confident and flawed goddess.

Lehto describes her digital image as a study of character and setting interaction. She said she wanted the piece to have a mystical feeling, as if the viewer were looking into another world.

Deters, who has been entering her students’ work in the state display for many years, said in a typical year, students would not have been able to submit digital art due to the in-person nature of the exhibit, which is typically hosted at the Minnesota Capitol.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was displayed virtually this year, allowing for three-dimensional and digital pieces.

“The exhibit is really strong,” Deters said.

"Straggler's Forest" by Elise Lehto. (Photo courtesy of Cloquet High School)

The change in venue also allowed for four pieces of art to be selected. Only two entries were allowed in previous years.


According to Deters, about 12 pieces of art were submitted for the exhibit from Cloquet students in grades 9-12.

After receiving submissions, two jurors were appointed by Deters — one from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and one from the Cloquet art department — to determine which pieces went into the exhibit.

“They were both impressed with all of the pieces that were submitted,” Deters said.

View the exhibit at .

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