Roger "Hutch" Hutchison started a student art show in 1988, the same year he joined the faculty at Delta High School. So it was only fitting that he capped his long career during the opening reception for this year's student art show. The exhibit can be viewed at the AppleShed Gallery in Cedaredge through April 22.
Displayed at the entryway is a painting by Annalee Couch, art teacher at Delta Middle School, who was inspired by M.C. Escher to create a piece of art reflecting the thousands of students and staff whose lives Hutch impacted over the past decades.
The simple shapes at the bottom of the canvas transform as they move toward the top, slowly metamorphosizing to full-fledged bird shapes as they experience the freedom of flight.
"I believe the symbolism of this piece eloquently portrays what you have done over the course of your career," Couch said. "You take young students and mold and shape them until they fly off with your wisdom, knowledge and skills to design their own lives."
Couch was not able to attend the reception, but her comments were shared by David Kuta, who teaches K-12 art in Paonia.
Couch also provided colorful origami birds. "If Hutch has touched your life in any way, sign your name on one of the origami birds and put it in the bird cage," Kuta said.
Hutch began his teaching career in midyear 1977 in Osborn, Kan. After two years there and an eight-year stint in Roundup, Mont., he joined the staff at Delta High School.
An immensely talented artist in his own right, Hutch calls himself a "jack-of-all-media" who has shared the various tools and techniques of the trade with his students.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.