Howell High School alumnus and current Western Michigan University Frostic School of Art senior Thomas Debrie will showcase his artwork during an upcoming art exhibit at the Howell Opera House.
Debrie will host conFiguration 5-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12. Along with Debrie, the artwork of local artist Lisa DeLuca and recent Western Michigan University Frostic School of Art graduate Sarah Mueller will also be in display. conFiguration will feature acrylic and oil paintings composed of figurative paintings, paintings of Michigan subject matter and abstract paintings.
For Debrie, hosting conFiguration at the Howell Opera House is a way to showcase his artwork for friends and family and to help bring an increased interest in the arts to Howell.
“I feel very strongly that art is an important part of culture and community and that it can be used to educate as well as create conversations and dialogs within communities,” said Debrie. “I want to try and bring to Howell a small part of the arts community that I’ve developed in as an artist in Kalamazoo. I feel that the location, as well as the history, of the Opera House make it a prime location to exhibit this show and share artwork with the community.”
Debrie had not considered art as a career path until after taking an art class at Howell High School with Mr. James Vancoppenolle.
“I wouldn’t say that I became interested in art until I was taking art classes with Mr. Vancoppenolle my sophomore year. He noticed something in me when I took his basic drawing class and encouraged me to peruse more advanced classes,” said Debrie. “I had always been interested in drawing, and did it sporadically as a young kid, but I had never considered it to be a career path. After taking classes with Mr. Vancoppenolle, I saw the career of an artist as something that I would enjoy and never grow tired of because of the nature of producing artwork. Mr. Vancoppenolle made me realize what was possible and gave me the push I needed to pursue this career path.”
In addition to finding his love of art while attending Howell High School, Debrie also took an interest in the Spanish language. He competed five years of Spanish in middle and high school, which helped him complete a minor in Spanish at Western Michigan University.
Debrie will graduate from Western Michigan University Frostic School Of Art this summer with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He is currently in the process of creating his senior thesis exhibition, which is a final body of work each BFA student must complete. His thesis show will be on exhibit at the Richmond Center for Visual Art at Western Michigan University Feb. 22-25, 2016.