Art Show highlights student art

Charlie Pope

The normally quiet library slowly filled with people and art last Thursday as the BSM fine arts department began to set up this year’s art show. Some of the best student art from this school year was carefully displayed, with pieces from all the Visual Fine Arts classes at BSM.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s has always placed great importance on the artistic development of its students. With 17 visual arts classes offered and a full year of art required of all students, even the artistically challenged will experience drawing, painting, and possibly silk screening and ceramics before moving on from BSM. Every student deserves a chance to display his or her work, and for that reason the Fine Arts department fills the library with paintings, silk screened prints, photographs, drawings and ceramic pieces every May. “Ms Jacobson and I started the art show probably 25 years ago,” said Ms. Jan Johnson, more commonly known as Ms. J, a BSM art teacher and one of the main coordinators of the show. “It’s a great way to show off our students’ talent.”

By seventh period Friday, the library was fairly cluttered with various works of all mediums, but the real show was not to start until Monday. “We are still just setting up,” said Ms. Kristi Main, a fine arts teacher. “When you come in here next week there will be many more pieces.” She was right. Come Monday, the random clutter was replaced with a rather professional-looking art display, which filled a majority of the library’s main room. Some trading even occurred in the library as senior Shea Cooney sold a pair of paintings for $90. Carolyn Rasley, the buyer, was quite happy with her purchase, and planned to frame the paintings and hang them in her room.

Parker Grones, whose six ceramics pieces are somewhat of a crowd favorite, thinks that the show is a great way to get student art recognized. “Everyone likes to go see what their friends have made in art class. There are a lot of great artists here that people might not otherwise know about.” Grones’ portion of the display includes two monkeys and a baby in various poses, all with interchangeable heads.

The art department teachers hand out honors to four pieces in each medium. “We give the awards to pieces that are particularly visually intriguing and technically sound,” said Ms. J. “We also try to hand them out to students from different levels of art, such as Painting One, Two, and Studio. It was difficult to decided the winners this year as there are especially many great works.”

Last year, a “Best in Show” award was handed out to one piece according to student votes, but there is no such award this year. “We decided not to attempt to coordinate that this year; it’s so late in the school year and there was just not enough time,” said Ms. Main.

Any student can submit a piece to the art show, and many do. Although the exact number of works displayed is not known, four large lunch tables and over twenty chairs were covered with art by Monday. “It’s a great way to get a lot of different pieces out there that wouldn’t ordinarily be seen,” said Ms. Main. “Every medium is well represented this year.”

The variety of pieces in the show is astounding. Upon entering the library, a four-foot ceramic totem pole is immediately visible, as is a life size multimedia bust named “Party Animal,” which is adorned with colorful pipe cleaners and hands made of surgical gloves.

Most importantly, the show gives students from all grades and classes a venue to display their work. “We love to see our students’ art –– the level of talent at this school is amazing,” said Ms. Main. “Recognition of that talent is so important.”