Lots of Color, Character, Composition at Bedford Public Schools Annual K-12 Art Show

May 12, 2023
Families and other community members showed their support of the youth while exploring the myriad students’ artwork that was on display at the Bedford Public Schools’ 29th annual K-12 Art Show last week. Staff Photo

Bedford High School was buzzing with chatter and excitement during the opening of the Bedford Public Schools 29th annual K-12 Art Show last Friday. Adding to the festive feeling were the jubilant sounds of the Bedford High School students playing music for the opening night. That effervescent enthusiasm poured into Saturday and Sunday as the show continued. 

Families and other community members showed their support for the youth while exploring the myriad students’ artwork that was on display. Tugging on their caregivers’, friends’, parents’ or grandparents’ arms while steering them to the appropriate areas, the younger children were eager to show not only their own art, but also the artwork of their friends. 

Shawn Hagan, K-12 Visual Arts Program Director, said, “We had more than 2,000 visitors to this year’s show, which is more than I can remember ever coming, at least since I’ve been here.”  

With art from students in the four Bedford Public Schools displayed throughout BHS, this year, the art created by students from Lt. Job Lane Elementary School and the John Glenn Middle School was displayed in the BHS gym. This change made room for oversized exhibits, such as the candy sculptures created by middle school students. 

Hagan said, “We got a lot of positive feedback about the layout of the show. Parents and community members appreciated the open feel of the gym space, which allowed for more conversations to happen.” 

Jennifer Ferrari, the Visual Art Teacher at the Job Lane School, said, “Lane artists spent all year learning about the artistic process in preparation for this event. Our units of study center on developing the Studio Habits of Mind, eight universal habits practiced by all working artists in studios around the world. Giving students access to knowledge, tools, time, and space to practice creative thinking, problem solving, persistence, and personal expression is critical as we prepare them for life after their K-12 education. 

“This show is the culmination and celebration of that essential work. As I walked through the show, I was amazed to see the progression of artistic development from the smallest artists at Davis to those who have reached the conclusion of their high school experience. The depth of ideas and technical skill in the senior exhibits was just incredible. I am so proud of each and every artist in Bedford – kudos!” she added.

This show, just like most, if not all professional art shows, included an artist statement placed by their creation along with paper/notebook for attendees to leave an inspiring message for them.

The following will give the readers a glimpse of this year’s art show, highlighting a few of the many talented artists and their diverse art that was showcased:

One area of the student show that always garners great reviews is the art created by K-2 students.  

Graham Horton, a student at Davis School, in talking about how he made his art piece, said that first, he used watercolor and in step two, he used a sharpie to add words. Horton is proud of his work and was pleased to see his piece in the art show.

Keith Camblin’s art piece featured four sections in which he drew animals, a hammerhead shark, a black widow spider, and a fisherman. He thought it was “exciting” to see his work hanging in the Art Show. Keith is in Brianne Mansfield’s first grade class.

Lane school student Antonia DeCerbo, knitted a multicolored scarf; her Artist Statement said, “I am not quite done with it, but it is a loooong scarf.” Lengthy, warm earth-tones, and beautifully-made were just a few of the qualities that visitors imparted.

Emily Heath and Erikka Ojamaa, two Lane School students, partnered to create their drawing – “Spring Art” – using markers and charcoal. This twosome-team generated a “home-sweet-home” experience, complete with a “doggie in the window.”

A plate created from clay was made by Margo in Katie Mathison’s class at Lane School. Margo noted on her Artist Statement: “My work took a very long time for me to create.” Many visitors admired her colorful plate, made with patience and practice, and commented on how beautiful it turned out.

Middle School Art teacher and a Bedford graduate from the class of 2015, Indigo Fox Tree said, “My goals were for students to start to learn about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists, about their own personal identity, artistic style, and how to incorporate that all into their work. The student artists worked really hard and long to achieve final pieces they felt good about!”  

Against the walls of the gym were many display boards of work by students at the John Glenn Middle School, including a variety of portraits and an assortment of colorful paintings. Among them was a spectacular glittery-gold fish adorned with salmon, blues, and greens created by seventh grade student Jane Whitesides.

Visitors enjoyed looking at an array of photography, ceramics, drawings, and other art crafted by high school students that were in several display cases leading to the lobby, where additional senior artists’ work could be enjoyed. 

Graduating seniors who are majoring in an art class were invited to show a body of work that indicated their growth as artists. Among these collections was a fascinating outfit created by designers Olive Culhane and R. Mella. This handiwork is sure to make a fashion statement!

Clay objects are among the oldest surviving artifacts in human history. Whether one is creating for the sensory experience that comes from squeezing, rolling, coiling, and creating or the joy of seeing the finished product, typically the process and product is beneficial to many. Amy Lerra, a senior at BHS, had a display table featuring a collection of interesting and colorful ceramic pieces in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles that she molded. According to her artist statement, she “gets her inspiration from the materials [she] sees around her.” Many visitors appeared to be in awe of her work.

Paul Jeon’s artist statement says, “Drawing has been a regular consistent part of my daily routine since I was a little kid when I loved to draw my favorite cartoon characters in cool poses and scribble exciting scenes all over printer paper from my Dad’s office.” One observer wrote in Paul’s notebook, “Your portraits are incredible.” Another noted, they each capture the essence of the person.

Hagan shares his reflections: “I sat down this evening with a notepad and wrote down some thoughts about the show… what I thought went well and what we could do differently next year. We get a little better with every show and that’s what keeps it interesting – to keep striving to give the students the best possible venue and exhibiting experience that we can. We’ve got the 30th annual show next year, so we are going to top what we did this year!”

He also said, “I would specifically like to highlight and thank the Bedford Art Department teachers. Displaying thousands of student art pieces in a visually stimulating way in under eight hours is enough to make your head spin, but every year it happens; they are fantastic and I appreciate them so much.”

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Doris Smith is an Arts and Cultural Reporter for The Bedford Citizen. She was supported by a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council from December 2022 - June 2023.

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