NORWAY — What does it mean to bloom?

That’s the question students in Virginia Valdes’ graphic design and digital imaging classes attempt to answer through their visual arts interpretation of the blooming community of Norway and themselves as teenagers. A show of their work is on display at the Commons Art Collective on Main Street.

Using illustrations, typography, photography, image manipulation, screen printing and block prints, the students from three levels of the class celebrate the people who are considered forces of change in Norway and themselves as they bloom and change as teenagers, Valdes said.

The show is open at the Commons Art Collective at 447 Main St., next to the Fare Share, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, when it closes after a two-week run that has drawn large crowds.

“Change. It’s all about change,” Valdes said.

The students and instructor describe the show by saying, “This blooming can be a physical change, such as getting tattoos, or temporarily changing your gender by donning a fake mustache. You can also mentally alter your state of mind by taking prescription drugs or changing the way you perceive others. These changes have taught us that we need to sustain our youth and preserve our community, without the help of Miracle Gro or Botox. In order for our community to continue to flourish, we must preserve and restore what we have, such as revitalizing Main Street, having a community garden, and creating safe environments for teenagers to go and have fun.”

All of these issues are illustrated in various artistic forms in the show.

Large illustrations of “change makers” in Norway, such as Norway Downtown’s Andrea Burns and Brenda Melhus, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Ted Moccia, Cafe Nomad owner Scott Berk, Katey Branch, who helped her daughters Emma and Ruby DayBranch developed the Alan Day Community Garden in honor of their dad and many more “changers” of Norway are included in the show. The subjects were interviewed about their visions, and the interviews, which were done by student Megan Creney, are available for viewing on a monitor set up in the gallery. Written descriptions of how they helped Norway change are printed  on the back sides of the hanging illustrations.

The show asks how will Norway rebloom as a town, the structure, community, its life and how will its residents and others influence what the community will bloom into.

“The possibilities of these open-ended questions are what we have explored here,” Valdes said.

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