GDS Holds Annual Art Show, Showcasing Diverse Talents

The art show on the third floor of the high school. Photo by Olivia Brown.

On April 24, all studio art students displayed their artwork in the 2023 High School Art Show. The show covered a wide range of artistic mediums, including sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, design, video, animation and multimedia.

This year, the art show will run from April 24 through May 21. Each student in the art department is required to pick one piece to put on display on the third floor. The art show used to involve taking artwork to the lower/middle school and presenting it to students as a way to generate excitement around the art program. 

The High School Art Show has been an event since 2000, when studio arts teacher Nick Ryan came to GDS as the art department head. The head of school at the time, Peter Branch, collaborated with Ryan to find a way to get everyone involved in the art department, and they settled on the art show.

“It’s nice to be able to know that other people are viewing, respecting and valuing your work as an art student,” sophomore Hannah Brickman, who is currently taking advanced ceramics, said.

Brickman was inspired from making surface texture pieces in the foundations class she took last year, and she continued creating surface texture pieces this year.

“I think a lot of people, when they see art, it’s really 2D, and with ceramics, it’s not 2D,” she said. “With the surface texture, it adds a sensory thing, and it looks and feels really cool.” 

She chose to showcase a blue ceramic cup that featured surface texture. “I thought this piece was really cool because if you looked at it with the rest of my pieces it would look like an ordinary piece, but I did a really intensive glazing procedure, which gave me a really cool color,” she explained.

Sophomore Elodie Fleurence, an advanced ceramics student, said the art show is a chance for artists of all levels to display their work. Both Fleurence and Ryan said they think the art show encourages foundation students to create their best pieces.

Fleurence said she also noticed that more foundation students than previous years are interested in advanced classes. “I’m hearing more foundation students saying they want to move up to advanced,” she said. “It’s really cool to hear about how way more people are getting interested in art now.”

Ryan said students looking at the show become inspired by their fellow students’ work. “It motivates people, and it makes them think ‘maybe I do want to take a class,’” he said.

Fleurence’s pieces in the art show are part of a collection she is making, which was inspired by artist Kate MacDowell who made a clay lung and filled it with fake birds. Fleurence put her own spin on the concept by creating different organs out of clay, opening them up and then filling them with different ceramic vegetation. “I’m excited to make more,” she said.

She explained that she wants people to be intrigued by the piece at first glance and then be interested in looking at it closer. “I hope it’s something that’s fun to look at because there’s a lot of little details, especially in the heart,” she said. “I’m hoping that it’s something that catches people’s eyes and then they go and see all the little hidden details.”

Studio arts teacher Adrian Loving was impressed by the art show this year. “Advanced students, particularly advanced ceramics, are some of the best we’ve ever had–very professional-looking,” he said.

Brickman also said she enjoys seeing the art show. “It’s not only looking at what everybody’s learned and what they’ve completed at the end of the year, but also seeing how talented everyone is,” she said.

Brickman encouraged the GDS community to see the art show. “Everybody has this artistic talent in such different ways, and I think that’s really cool, and I think the art show allows people to see that,” she said.

Brickman and Fleurence both said they enjoy showing off their pieces to their peers. “It’s a matter of being able to show off your work to other people and being recognized as an art student,” Brickman said.