The all-school art show “art attack” featuring Hockaday students in the arts kicked off Monday night in a celebration of the creativity and dedication of students with exceptional talent from photography, ceramics and studio art classes.
“We don’t get to showcase our work very often so it is nice to showcase it for once,” sophomore Emily said. “You can really see how much the students enjoy their classes and how much they appreciate their teachers.”
To choose which pieces were to be presented, Upper School art teacher Juliette McCullough said she helped some to decide with students which pieces were visually stronger, but her AP students “really chose their own.” However, students were not limited to their in-class work. Sophomore Amy said she chose pieces that she made outside of art class because she could be “more creative.”
The program was originally created to feature the portfolios of the AP art students, who had spent the last four years of their art career mastering their technique and honing their skills. Year one, proclaimed the most vital year by McCullough, focused on developing visual perception, while the second year was all about learning to work with color and the third about visual literacy. But out of all four, AP art is considered the most limiting due to restrictions on the AP portfolio exam.
This year the art staff was granted permission to display the students’ pieces for the AP portfolio in the ARC, which has never been done before. Teachers and students like McCullough and senior Megan agree that more people saw the art, even if just passing through to get to the parking lot.
The Monday night ceremony in Hicks was also dedicated to the seniors, who were honored for their achievements with flowers and even special awards, such as the Rhodes Island School Award for best art. The junior class, clothed in their handmade unitard costumes, was also recognized with pins for their blazers.
“You got to see all the artists and talk about their work and get food. It was fun seeing all the AP people. When they gave out the awards, you saw their best paintings, and some of them were really amazing,” sophomore Alex said, with special admiration for Katharine’s works.
In addition to the awards, Hockaday has also been continuing with the program that purchases three outstanding pieces of art out of the entire senior collection that they, as Evi puts it, “keep for like ever.” But none of the fine art teachers pick the recipient of each award themselves; they find outside artists or teachers to make a selection based on the criteria of that award.
“I don’t give those awards, because I’m far too close to the work myself,” McCullough said. “But it means that the school will own a piece by its student that will be exhibited on an ongoing basis. So the school is slowly building a collection.”
Although the girls are impressed overall by their accomplishments, it was not without hard work. Evi said “it was very intense, and very labor intensive, which was not very fun at the time, but looking back we’re really proud of the work that we’ve done. Not many people get to make a costume in an art class.”
“I think the show is great. I’m excited by what the students have done,” McCullough said. “They work so hard to produce it in [the classroom] and it looks so different on the wall. I think that my students see their work for the first time, and that’s a great experience for them. I wish we had more time to exhibit than we do.”