Bedford High School Students’ Art on Display in Regional High School Art Exhibit

March 1, 2024
Christina Kolak, BHS Class of 2024, is one of the Bedford High School students with art in the Regional High School Art Exhibit. The Exhibit including BHS Student art runs from March 2 – March 17 at LexArt and is free and open to the public. Courtesy Image.

“Year after year, we are impressed and truly inspired by the students’ artwork,” said Matthew Siegal, President and Executive Director of the Lexington Arts & Crafts Society. 

LexArt is hosting Bedford High School student work as part of the 28th Annual Regional High School Exhibit this month. Art from Bedford, Burlington, Concord-Carlisle, Lexington, Minuteman, Waltham, and Winchester high school students is on view in two waves at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society Gallery at 130 Waltham St. in Lexington. 

The Bedford, Concord-Carlisle, and Winchester student art will be on view from Saturday, March 2 through Sunday, March 17 with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. The LexArt gallery is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Mondays. The public is invited and welcomed to the reception and the gallery when open. 

“The LexArt show is unique because it is a regional show. There are multiple towns exhibiting great student work,” said Sean Hagan, Bedford Public Schools K-12 Visual Arts Program Director. “It’s beneficial on many levels to see work in person from other towns as our students get to see what is being created in the neighboring districts and for staff to get ideas and inspiration for future projects.” 

Siegal explained, “This is the first year we have broken the exhibit into two sections of three or four schools to give each school room to exhibit more work.” 

Approximately 120 area high school student artists will displayed through the Regional High School Art Exhibit. 

“It is always magical to see the pride in both parents and students to have their work exhibited in a professional venue, to see students respond to the work from other schools, and to give that exposure to the instructors as well.”  

The Burlington, Lexington, Minuteman, and Waltham students finished their art rotation this week. Splitting the groups has allowed for more space for art, artists, and supporters – the first reception being a high-energy and raucous crowd of family and friends showing up to support the student artists. 

In addition, “Our regular LexArt audience looks forward to the student show every year and always remarks at the quality of the work. This year is no different.” Siegal admires the student art each year: “They pour so much of themselves into it. The work is so raw and visceral.”

Artwork from around 120 students across 7 area high schools will be displayed. Image from the work of Abby Cutrona, BHS Class of 2026. Courtesy Image

As artists, Siegal said the regional show gives a great experience “for the students to have to think about preparing their work for exhibit, to compose an artist’s statement about where they draw their inspiration, or what they were trying to accomplish, and to see how having their artwork displayed amongst other work, which helps create context and adds meaning.” 

The art on showcase ranges in media, subject and interests. Students display a range of mixed media (with or without technology), computer graphics, digital photography, industrial and fashion design, along with traditional fine arts, drawing, painting, and sculpture.   

Hagan said the BHS staff chooses several pieces of student art that “exhibits excellent craftsmanship” across the courses and mediums offered at the school, from digital arts to ceramics, and across grade levels, to display at the exhibit. 

Christina Kolak, a senior at Bedford High School, is exhibiting a painting in this year’s LexArt show. Kolak has taken Art I, Art II, Art III and now is in Art Explorations at BHS, a class where students can “have free rein to complete personal projects.” Kolak is enjoying exploring her “interest in acrylic painting without limits,” and is excited to have art on display in the Regional High School show for the third year.   

“There aren’t any games or performances for art like there would be for sports and other extracurriculars, so it’s really exciting to have this yearly opportunity to celebrate my hard work and my classmates’ hard work in art.”    

Siegal, a BHS Class of 1975 graduate himself, expanded Kolak’s sentiment. “High School can be such a narrowly defined and narrowly experienced environment. Sports is one avenue that provides students exposure to others outside of their own schools and their own direct sphere, but we need to provide similar outlets and opportunities in other areas, in the arts and sciences as well.” 

Providing artists, art educators, and art appreciators a venue to convene, providing and preparing a professional venue for displaying student art, and celebrating the work of students and high school art departments are all goals attained through the Regional High School Art Exhibit. 

And that’s in addition to creating a quality exhibit of art for the public to see. The LexArt President finds satisfaction in viewing the maturation and process of the student artists – through exploring media in class assignments and taking those materials and processes to another level, as students try to navigate their teenage experiences and construct their identities. “I think especially in the age of social media, the desire to define themselves, rather than be defined by others is the overriding takeaway.” 

Another benefit – in tandem with the Regional High School Art Exhibit- LexArt offers cash scholarships to graduating seniors pursuing careers in art or design. Siegal points people to the Exhibit and Scholarship websites for more information (donations can be made to the scholarship at https://www.lexart.org/scholarship-awards) – “or better yet, stop by the show!”

Hagan agrees about stopping by, and encourages “parents and community members to please go and see the show and support these young artists. Art is one of the most important contributions a society can make, and by coming to these art exhibits we are showing that we value this work that is being done.”

Exhibit hours and information about LexArt can be found at: https://www.lexart.org/exhibit-information/2024-annual-regional-high-school-exhibit

[A full list of the Bedford Students participating in the Regional High School Art Exhibit is expected on Friday, March 1, and will be posted here when available.]

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