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Novi Student's Artwork Sends Powerful Message

The Novi Community School District chose Emily Patterson's work for this year's student art purchase because of its beauty — and its message.

Each year, the Novi Community School District buys a piece of art created by a Novi student. This year, 18-year-old Emily Patterson’s piece, Glasses, was selected by administrators for the district's student art purchase.

The piece is on display at the at 25345 Taft Rd.

“It’s a huge honor for me, personally, because I really didn’t expect it,” said Patterson, who graduated this month from . “This piece, I thought, was one of my greater successes, so to get the feedback in that form was awesome. I was elated about it.”

The Board of Education awarded Patterson with a check for $180 for the piece at its June 9 meeting.

At a glance, the piece is a creation of glass and color. Six different-size drinks are displayed on a frame of wine corks. But as you look closer, inside each drink are bits of glass, bottle caps and other objects that make it look less glamorous.

“The idea behind the piece was to take broken glass, which is something that is obviously dangerous, then subdue it with an epoxy resin to suspend it in there, so when you look at it, it doesn’t look particularly threatening — but when you look a little closer, you realize they are full of glass," Patterson said.

"There’s a ton of wine corks ... I wanted that to reflect excess in every way.”

The subject matter of her art is heavy, but that’s her point.

“It touches everybody in some way, I believe,” Patterson said. “It’s a very relevant topic in high school when kids are starting to get the inclination to experiment in areas where they shouldn’t. 

"I kind of wanted it to be a warning for students, parents, community members, everybody, because alcohol is everywhere,” she said.

RJ Webber, assistant superintendent of academic services, was instrumental in the purchase. He said he was struck by the work and its powerful message.

“I’m like, whoa, I get it,” Webber said. “The broken glass and the idea of how abuse of that can lead to very negative and tragic implications for the user and the family — that was one of the things I thought was really intriguing about her piece. It had the ‘gotcha’ moment.

"I think that Emily did it in such a way that if you’re willing to take the time to look at the piece, you really get it. She is an incredible kid, mature beyond her years, and the piece shows it,” he said.

For Patterson, who said she's been creating art for as long as she can remember, the purchase has been an amazing thrill.

“My first piece I’ve sold — hopefully, not the last,” she said.

Patterson will attend Michigan State University in the fall.

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