GREENFIELD — Thirteen-year-old Nick Gasiorek led his parents and grandparents through the sea of people at the Twenty North Gallery in Greenfield Friday night, checking out the various paintings, drawings, photographs and ceramics done by local students at the annual Hancock County Junior High/High School Art Exhibit.

Hancock County Arts hosted an open house for the month-long exhibit on Feb. 10, which brought a sea of young artists and their families into the gallery to enjoy the wide variety of art in addition to live music and Valentines-themed desserts.

The exhibit, which runs through the month of February, is an annual event highlighting the artistic talents of local youth.

Several pieces were sold throughout the night by students from all four Hancock County school districts.

Gasiorek, a seventh grader at Mt. Vernon Middle School, proudly showed off the two-dimensional painting he made of a school hallway — with one half depicting a modern-day hallway in full color, the other black-and-white half depicting the same scene from years ago.

“We were supposed to come up with something on perspective, so this is what I came up with, the perspective of the same scene in different places in time,” said the young man, who spent a week and a half creating the piece in class.

Gasiorek said it was fun being part of his first art show, which gave him a chance to celebrate his longtime love of drawing, a pastime he finds “relaxing and calming.”

“He was always the kid who colored. We’re very proud of him,” said his mother, Jennifer Gasiorek.

Fellow seventh-grader Kyle Gregoire led his parents towards his two art show submissions — a charcoal drawing and a ceramic bowl he created at Greenfield Central Junior High School.

The 13-year-old said he’s drawn to art because “you can create anything you want.”

“Art gives himself a way to express himself through something other than sports, which is great,” said his mom, Lori Gregoire, who also cheers on her son at wrestling meets and football games.

Tapping into that self expression is what art is all about, said Hancock County Arts council member Diana Moore of New Palestine, who spent the evening sketching with crayons throughout the open house.

Moore remembers years ago when an artist told her real art can’t be made with crayons.

“That’s why I use them, to show kids that you can use anything to create art,” said Moore, as she sketched a beautiful portrait of a horse with a 64-pack of Crayola crayons.

Moore sells insurance by day but spends her free time creating art, gravitating towards oils and colored pencils.

“As a kid I used to sit and draw all the time. If it stood still long enough, I’d draw it,” said the artist as students milled about her easel at Friday’s open house.

Moore said it made her heart happy to see so many students proudly displaying their works at the gallery, where a multitude of art forms filled the display tables and walls.

Some were serious while some were whimsical in nature, like an impressively-detailed pencil drawing of a giraffe trapped inside a light bulb, by Eastern Hancock High School senior Lillian Kendrick.

Above that hangs a captivating ink and acrylic portrait of Medusa, by fellow Eastern Hancock senior Austyn Sutton.

Near the front of the gallery hangs a watercolor painting of a skeleton with multi-colored flowers growing out of its back, near a framed assortment of three-dimensional cardboard shapes. Pop culture was also on display in some pieces, like a Powder Puff Girl made of plastic and acrylic paint and a seventh-grader’s painting of Michael Jordan going in for a dunk.

Whether using crayons or cardboard or acrylic paints, Moore said she encourages all young people to unleash their imaginations by creating something — anything — in the name of art.

“Art just touches a completely different part of your soul,” she said.

The Hancock County Junior High/High School Art Exhibit is open through the month of February at the Twenty North Gallery, at 20 N. State St. in downtown Greenfield.

For gallery hours and information, visit