Annual art showcase exhibits student-made work of all mediums

Hundreds of visual art students alongside their friends and family gathered on May 7 to attend the annual Student Art Showcase. The opening night of the showcase commenced with an award ceremony which took place in the LeVecke Center to honor individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the arts throughout the year. After the reception, guests were invited to walk over to the Monarch Pavilion to view the exhibited work.

The Monarch Pavilion, which is usually held as a multi purpose room, becomes transformed into an open creative space for the students to display their works. Dozens of vibrant colors, small and large scale work, as well as different mediums ranging form photography, drawings and abstract ceramic pieces filled the room.

Aimee Sones, the teacher for Digital Photography I, II and Design I, said that the process of preparing for the art show begins with students reviewing their work to later select their top pieces. Once the work has been printed, they prepare the finished art with labels and mattes during class. Sones said that, during this process, students can learn valuable experiences and memories in sharing their art outside of the classroom.

“The art show creates value within the larger Mater Dei community in many ways,” Sones said. “It brings people together to celebrate beauty, creativity and thoughtful problem solving. It provides a sense of community and enriches our experience, in addition to the religious, athletic and performing art opportunities we attend.”

Students who participate in the show often continue to take art courses and, over time, evolve in their work, technique and personal influences.

“…Many students enter art classes with no previous experience and create quality work for the show,” Sones said. “The chance to reflect on where we started and where we end up is incredibly rewarding… All students learn to express their creative thoughts and concepts in different ways and it’s amazing to see the depth and variety in their work.”

Senior Sabrina Chavez is an art student currently in AP Studio Art: 2D. Prior to this, she took Design I, Contemporary Media I and II. Her journey in the arts first began in Design I which sparked her interest in becoming more involved in exploring new artistic skills and opportunities.

“I believe that art is a valuable form of expression because the experience of creating art is unique to each person, and the message is subjective to each viewer,” Chavez said. “Art is valuable [because] this subjectivity cannot be accurately captured in a simple sentence.”

Chavez said that at the art show, she enjoyed seeing other students’ work from a wide range disciplines of art classes, as they use different art mediums in comparison to digital art. Her favorite aspect of being an AP art student is the opportunity to matte, label and hang up her prints in her very own designated section.

Senior Joe Inoue took Art I, II and III before enrolling in AP Studio Art: Drawing and Painting this year. Inoue first became involved in the arts at a very young age. His mother would set out printer paper and markers before dinner and he would draw scenes from 13 Going on 30 with Jenna Rink’s sleep mask and dress combo being the “crux of his aesthetic.” In order to become more involved, he enrolled to be in the “exploratory wheel,” an art class offered at his middle school so that he could take a semester of art.

“Art is so vital to expression because, quite literally, there are no limits to what you can create,” Inoue said. “Often words cannot quite capture what the psyche holds, or maybe there’s a taboo on speaking about it. So using art as a means of communication or connection is something very vulnerable and raw… The art show helps me grow as an artist because it allows me to articulate what piece or concentration means in words, and have a thoughtful conversation with others.”

Inoue said that if he were to offer any advice to students wishing to pursue the arts whether that be in the classroom or in the future, he would tell them to listen to their instincts.

“Art should soothe, it should tug at the deep recesses of your beliefs and it should be honest. Create pieces that are so immensely honest and true to your beliefs— do that and you’ll find fulfillment within. Listen to your heart, if you posses that dream, then nothing else matters: never settle,” Inoue said. “Even if careers in the arts have been known to rake in minimal salaries, do so anyway because you dream it. Change people’s minds and let them remember why art is essential to life.”

In addition to the two-dimensional work, a wide 3D collection of ceramics pottery, sculptures and clay pieces were displayed in the show. Natalie Smith, a senior enrolled in AP 3D has participated in the art show each year. At this show, she exhibited her portfolio which included a yellow honeycomb sculpture, which was a piece composed of extruded ceramic hexagons that range in size to give a visual appeal from multiple perspectives. Smith said that after working all year on her portfolio, “it’s amazing and gratifying to see how the pieces look collectively in one space.” From having her pieces displayed, she said she has learned lifelong skills such as being able to take constructive feedback, in order to grow and evolve.

“Art is a valuable form of expression because it often allows the manifestation of ideas that words cannot express,” Smith said. “From having my pieces exhibited, I have learned how to take feedback, which has helped me become a better artist.”

At times, experiencing something new, like pursuing art or showing work can be intimidating, which is why Smith recommends that students find an environment that is comfortable and conducive towards their success. She said that it’s helpful and beneficial to look for individuals out in the community, who are willing to offer their support in helping you begin your art or put it out on a platform.

The art show displays the works of students in Art I-IV, Ceramics I-IV, Digital Photography I and II, Design I, Contemporary Media I and II, AP Studio Art: 2D, AP Studio Art: 3D, AP Studio Art: Drawing and Painting, all of which are visual electives that students can enroll in for the upcoming school year.

“Art shows, as they’re a culmination of many artists’ [work], force the beholder to open the gate of the mind; to surrender art for a moment, in hopes of leaving with a wider appreciation, not only for art, but richness in life,” Inoue said.