A look at the American art show

Emyr Ortiz

Staff Writer

      Photos, sketches, music, animation, fashion, and paintings. Art encompasses a broad range of media and styles, and American is home to many artists of different forms. Yet in a school as large as we are, it is rare to have all of these different varieties of art together in one place. Luckily for the art-loving students of American, the art show provides the perfect opportunity. Started two years ago by students who wanted to showcase all of the art American had to offer, the art show brings together the different artists of American into one place for one night, and was scheduled for the 13th of this month. However, getting all the artists together is no small task.

     “I think we started planning [the art show] in January,” says Janine Wang (12), who headed the art show organization. “That’s when we brainstormed what decorations we wanted to do this year, if we wanted to do the same things from last year. From then on, it has been following the same deadlines as last year. So getting the art, like publicizing the art show [to] the artists, having them submit art, and then publicizing the actual event.” 

     Publicizing is only one of many tasks that had to be done to get the art show, which is mostly student organized, running. Along with other students, Wang contacted teachers, figured out how the art would be presented, and coordinated with clubs to get interactive exhibitions at the show, like the all-important Bob Ross painting station. Yet Wang and the leadership team take all these tasks in stride, because she believes the result of their work is worth it.

     “I think [that] in the moment it can seem very hectic, a lot of work. But I think at the end it’s pretty rewarding to see how it all comes together and how people come together to enjoy the artwork of others.”

     The students presenting their art certainly also believe that the art show is impactful. Alyssa Chung (12), who has been involved in art since elementary school, explains why the art show is a unique opportunity. 

     “At school, there are no chances to show your work. And there’s more to an artist than what they do in school. There’s things that we do outside of school. So we have our work that we do, [our] art projects, or we have our works that we want to do ourselves, and the art show is allowing us to bring what we do outside of school to the public.”

     Chung usually shares her out of school art projects on social media, but even that solution has some flaws.

     “On social media, you don’t see the immediate reactions. You can see the likes, you can see the comments but what do they really feel? Do they actually think it’s cool art? What is their first reaction when they see it? Are they [thinking], ‘Wow!’ or ‘Oh, okay.’”

     With physical people reacting in real time to the artwork at the show, artists are able to overcome this barrier and truly know what emotions their artwork elicits. And it’s not only the visual artists that get to learn something at the art show, the musical artists performing on behalf of the AHS band also benefit.

     “[The art show is] fun,” says Serena Choo (11) who was supposed to perform at the show. “I like performing in front of people, and it helps me to prepare for performances where I actually have to perform in shows that are in front of judges.”

     The art show also has impacts beyond the world of art. Natasha Anguelouch (9), who had submitted photographs for the art show, says her step from junior high to high school has shocked her with much more rigorous work. However, the art show has provided her a welcome respite from the barrage of schoolwork, saying “[The art show] makes the [school] environment less competitive, and adds an element of fun to the school.”

     All of these elements come together to form an experience unique to an art show. An experience where people can relax and where artists can truly improve. Chung explains the impact of the art show on how she perceives her work.

     “We have a certain view of our own work. And like when someone else views it, they have a different outlook on it. And sometimes we need that different look to see like the true picture or where you need to work on or what’s good.”

     Unfortunately, those looking to experience the wonders of the art show will have to wait as it has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19 concerns.

Student artwork of many forms lined the rotunda at last year’s art show. Having all of these pieces together in one place provides a desirable opportunity for many artists at American, including Densa Bui (11). “I can take inspiration from multiple people [and] a different variety of mediums such as digital animation, acrylic, and watercolor. I personally am not the most talented in certain mediums such as traditional so I thought that [it] would be super cool to see [the] different mediums and styles.” 

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