Every year, during the month of April, LCHS hosts an annual art show, to exhibit the creative achievements of students studying within the visual arts program. The works displayed are a direct result of the invaluable instruction, skill development, and dedicated efforts applied throughout the year. Teachers and students together curate the show, transforming the foyer of the LCHS auditorium into a vibrant, fine art gallery, brimming with hundreds of diverse pieces.
Preparation for the event begins in February, when the visual art teachers begin collecting all the students’ best pieces and mounting and labeling each of them. In March and April, the teachers spend numerous hours arranging and hanging the pieces. Creating these displays requires additional commitment. Art teacher Serafina Kenwood shared why she believes it’s worth it, “Once the kids see their art on the wall, not just on their phones and their computers, but on the wall, they are completely, 100% in awe of their own work. They have a brand new appreciation for it.”
This year’s show opened on April 4th, with a VIP Preview Night for the artists and their family and friends. Guests were greeted by an elegant spread of hors d’oeuvres, catered by the culinary arts classes, overseen by their instructor Karen Stattler. The LCHS instrumental music department provided live music.
Because the art show requires a tremendous amount of work, the teachers are grateful to have the help of some excellent parent volunteers. As ceramics teacher Robin Serr expressed, “We are so fortunate to have the Friends of Art (FOA) parent group here at LCHS. These dedicated parents help teachers accomplish a truly large-scale event each year.”
The art show provides an opportunity for students to practice self-expression and promote their abilities. According to Mike Kauffman, visual art department chair, “For me, it’s always and only about the kids. We want to promote the work they are doing. It’s important for the school to recognize how multi-dimensional these kids are.” He recalls the surprise expressed, over the years, by many of his academic colleagues upon seeing the artwork of students they share, “I’ve heard some of the core teachers express, ‘Oh, I had no idea...’ This showcases their talent, creativity, and critical thinking.”
His colleague Ms. G. agrees. Ms. Gayle Nicholls-Ali, who teaches photography and graphic design, affirmed, “The most important feature of the art show is that other students get to see the work that goes on in our classroom because they wouldn’t, unless they came into our classroom. The other thing is that students are able to share their work with a bigger population outside of the classroom. For some students, that’s huge. It’s an instance when they become a star because their work is on display.”
Her photography students not only submitted photos for the show, but they also curated the photography displays at the show, learning how to display multiple pieces together in an aesthetic way. Creating a pleasant, physical environment to house the artwork remains a significant duty, as Ms. G. noted, “We are in a digital age where everything can live in this space [cyberspace], so when we print it and display it, it becomes an extension of them.”
This year, for the first time, 7th and 8th grade students were able to submit pieces for the LCHS Art Show.The art teachers hope to cultivate an early interest in art, so that students have more time to build their skills throughout their years at LCHS. When describing the 7/8 students, Ms. Kenwood said, “They’re fearless. They’re excited about what they do, but they’re not as worried about the outcome. They are more involved in the process than the product, which is nice.”
For any students interested in taking an art class but apprehensive about their abilities, all the art teachers have the same advice, “Go for it!” The classes they teach will help you develop the skills you need to create some impressive work. As summed up by Ms. Serr, “By the end of the year, students who had never before touched clay are now capable of making truly remarkable artworks, full of detail and complexity. I also love that by the end of the year, I hear students ask, ‘HOW can I do this,’ rather than say, ‘I CAN'T do this.’”
By visiting the art show, students interested in taking an art course next year will be able to see the caliber of work their peers have been able to accomplish. After being taught how to channel their creativity, develop skills, and refine techniques, they too could be turning out some amazing work in the years to come.