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High school artists recognized at Paris Gibson Square

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Posted at 9:10 AM, Apr 20, 2024

GREAT FALLS — On Friday, April 19, 2024, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art hosted its annual Great Falls Public Schools art gallery.

Public school students of all ages were able to see their art pieces adorn the walls of the museum, which once served as the Great Falls High School.

“It really makes it a relevant experience for them. And they realize that their art is good enough to go up in a museum,” says Dusty Molyneaux, Director of Fine Arts with GFPS.

The evening also marks an opportunity to award the next recipient of the Zach Culliton Merit of Distinction, a tradition which has been ongoing since 2008.

Zach Culliton was a young artist at Great Falls High School, living with muscular dystrophy. Despite his condition, his talent was evident and he was often recognized for his artistic exploits.



He passed in 2008; the first recipient of the award which is now given to a high-school artist overcoming mental, physical, or economical hardship. Zach Culliton would have turned 36 on Saturday, April 20th.

This year’s recipient is Xavier Pike, a senior at Great Falls High, who’s overcome extreme economic challenge. Nominated by their teacher, Cortni Harant, they are well-versed in several art mediums, and currently working on two portfolios at once, whereas most students opt for one.

“It's nice to be noticed, for people to be like, Oh, your life is actually pretty hard, but you're still going,” says Pike.

On top of being added to the prestigious list, Pike also received a $200 scholarship from the Culliton family.

Pike intends to take a gap-year after graduating high school, before continuing with a post-secondary education in the arts.

You can see works from students of all ages at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art through May 15th.