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Art show lets seniors show 'evolution' of skills

Irwin Goldberg
Emily Anderson created this painting which was inspired by Freddie Mercury

One year later, Emily Anderson came clean.

She stayed home from school to finish an art project one day last year. It was a large canvas painting inspired by Freddie Mercury. In the piece, Anderson said she was exploring anatomy and the way lighting can affect the texture and color of skin, while depicting the late Queen singer in an S-shaped curve.

“That was a really big, monumental thing of my junior year,” Anderson said. “It was the first time I ever did anything so big and I put so much time and effort into such a big thing. I’d love for people to see what I’ve done and kind of appreciate it.”

The Red Hook community will have that chance beginning Thursday, May 2, when the Senior Art Show opens in the atrium of the high school’s Performing Arts Center from 4 to 6 p.m. It’s the first of two year-end art shows to be held in the atrium, with the district-wide art show scheduled for May 23.

More than a dozen high school senior artists are exhibiting a selection of their work Tuesday at the annual show, which will also feature live music from senior students. District Art Department Coordinator Julia Shultis called the show “a rite of passage” for departing artists “to be able to look back at what they’ve been able to accomplish to the arts and show the public.”

Laura Holtman is mostly displaying ceramic pieces. She said her favorites are a bowl shaped to look like an octopus is wrapped around it and a plant pot decorated with animals like frogs and insects. Each took about a month to create.

Some of student Laura Holtman's ceramics work

“I put a lot of detail into each,” she said. “I’d say I’m most proud of those pieces.”

In addition to the students and their families, Shultis said the senior-focused night is important to the district’s instructors.

“It really is a culmination of everybody’s instruction and time that all the teachers throughout the pre-K through 12 experience have helped these students to get to where they’re at for senior year,” she said. “It’s really a celebration for all of us.”

For those unable to attend Thursday the art pieces will remain on display for about a week, though visitors will need to contact the school to arrange a viewing.

Students in the International Baccalaureate art program are required to participate as part of their assessment. Interested seniors outside of the program were also invited to exhibit.

The students curate their presentations for the show, which is one aspect taught to the students, Shultis said.

Anderson spoke about her selections while sitting in an art class finishing her final piece. The art represents “the evolution of me,” she said, with pieces from ninth to 12th grade.

“I truly wanted to document my process as an artist and as a student in high school through my artwork,” she said, “and show people how I progressed as a person and how my style has changed and how my ideas have changed.”

The district art show, from 4 to 6 p.m. May 23, will include pieces selected by art teachers throughout the district created through the course of the year. Recent Red Hook graduates are set to play music at the show and refreshments will be available.

“The district art show is more salon style, it’s just artwork all up the wall, everywhere,” Shultis said. “Everybody brings their favorite pieces. We put it anywhere and everywhere we can.”

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