Paintings too racy for high school? Boardman show rejects student’s art

Boardman's superintendent said if you can't wear it on a t-shirt, it shouldn't be on display in a classroom

Gina Armeni's artwork was deemed inappropriate for Boardman Schools.

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – When are paintings not appropriate for a high school art show? A Boardman senior recently found out when her artwork was deemed too risque for the classroom.

Some of Gina Armeni’s works include female body parts and Boardman school officials considered them inappropriate for the high school show. Her other pieces that did not include nudity were allowed, but she decided not to participate altogether.

“I did not feel that those were my strongest pieces and if I’m going to show my art, I want to show whatever I want of it,” Armeni said.

Boardman Superintendent Tim Saxton said it doesn’t work that way.

“Here’s a real good rule of thumb — if you can’t wear it on a t-shirt and walk around all day, then it shouldn’t be on a piece of work in a classroom.”

Armeni said her teachers knew what she was working on and called the final decision a miscommunication.

One of her teachers eventually contacted Aaron Chine — who owns The Box Gallery art studio in downtown Warren — and explained the situation. That’s when he decided to host a show exclusively for Armeni.

“I didn’t think they were outrageous, or too risque, or anything like that,” Chine said.

Her pieces are now on display in the studio, ready to be viewed.

“We’ll get everything all priced out, labeled out, titled,” said.

He said it was something he just knew he should do.

“Art has given me so much in my life, it just seemed like the right thing to do. And then when I seen her artwork, it was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is perfect.'”

Everyone — including Superintendent Saxton — seems to be okay with the outcome.

“Maybe that is the appropriate place, where it is private, people can decide, and it’s not school-related,” Saxton said.

Armeni said she cried when she first found out the school wouldn’t accept her work, but now she has a reason to smile.

She will attend Youngstown State in the fall, majoring in art. Armeni would like to become a tattoo artist.

The paintings in question will be on display at The Box Gallery across from Courthouse Square on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. The entrance is through Dave Grohl Alley.


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