Dr. Heidi Kraus, assistant professor of art and director of the De Pree Art Center and gallery, was the juror for “Début 2014,” the Regional High School Art Competition, opening at the Holland Area Arts Council on Thursday, March 6.

The opening was originally scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27, but was postponed a week because of inclement weather that prompted area schools to be closed that day.

The Arts Council gathered student artwork from 10 area high schools to be displayed in the professionally run, juried exhibition.  The annual exhibition, now in its 35th year, was designed to create the opportunity to share meaningful art and to involve youth, and reflects the Arts Council’s mission to engage the community in the arts.

 “The opportunity to jury a high school art exhibition is exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is the emphasis on our community,” Kraus said.  “In a time when the relevancy of art (and indeed the importance of the humanities) is being constantly questioned, Début creates an excitement about art as a vehicle for self-expression, creative problem-solving, and decisive thinking.”

Kraus selected 80 pieces from 270 works submitted.  Participating schools are Black River Public School, Coopersville, Fennville, Grand Haven, Holland Christian, Holland, Jenison, Saugatuck, West Ottawa, and Zeeland East and West.

Kraus joined the Hope faculty in 2012.  Her scholarly and teaching emphasis is on Modern and Contemporary art history.

She received her doctorate in 2010 from The University of Iowa, where her research focused on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French art and architecture.  She has published in “Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture,” published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, and co-curated an exhibition at The University of Iowa titled “Napoleon and the Art of Propaganda.”  In addition, she has presented her research at numerous conferences both in the United States and internationally, including the College Art Association Annual Conference and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Meeting.

In 2013, she was one of only 21 faculty from around the country chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges chosen to participate in the June 23-28 seminar “Dutch Art, Patrons, and Markets” at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga.  Her current project is co-authoring a book, “A Short History of the Ancient World,” with Nicholas Rauh of Purdue University, to be published by University of Toronto Press.

“Début” will open with a reception at the Holland Area Arts Council on Thursday, March 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  The exhibition will continue in the Arts Council’s Padnos and Armstrong Galleries through Monday, April 28.

The public is invited to both the opening and the exhibition.  Admission is free.

The Holland Area Arts Council is located at 150 E. Eighth St., between College and Columbia avenues near Columbia.