This article originally appeared in the summer 2016 Harker Quarterly.
Students of all ages displayed works in a colorful array of art exhibits held across all four campuses. The entire Harker community was invited to enjoy the annual shows, which featured the talents of both budding and seasoned student artists. Enjoy this special Harker Quarterly art show retrospective!
Preschool Year-Round Exhibits
Throughout the year, Harker Preschool holds various art exhibits. The third annual Year-End Art Showcase featured works from every student on campus. The captivating exhibit, which ran during the last month of the school year, was also a highlight of Grandparents’ Day at the preschool, held in May.
“Every other month at the preschool, we displayed new studio artwork in the art gallery. Our Grandparents’ Day showcase was a culminating event that highlighted the variety of processes experienced by the artists throughout the year,” said Alexandria Kerekez, Harker Preschool’s art specialist.
When asked about their favorite art project of the year, many of the 4- and 5-year-olds responded that it was “The Canvas Project.” That project, which was included in the art showcase, comprised a collection of canvas paintings crafted by the eldest preschoolers.
The representational work consisted of drafting an image of “a wish” and then translating it into an acrylic painting. Meanwhile, transitional kindergartners started a new art studio project known as “The Shell Shop,” in which they created shells not for exhibit, but to be sold on-site in a store, complete with name tags for employees and a cash register.
Lower School: Art On and Off Campus
The Lower School Art Show opened on the morning of April 25 at the Bucknall campus, with grade 5 docents on hand to help guide parents through the show and serve refreshments afterward.
Sponsored by the lower school art department and afterschool art program, the show featured a wide array of creative works, including drawings, paintings and ceramics. The display, which ran until May 20, was arranged by themes and grade levels, with all classes represented.
Adding to the excitement this year was the fact that, for the first time, a dozen lower school students also had their work represented at the 59th annual Saratoga Rotary Art Show, held the weekend of April 30. The Rotary show displays the best works of up-and-coming artists, ages 5-13, from local schools as part of its larger, daylong event held at West Valley College in Saratoga.
“This was the first time we have done this, and I was so excited! I hope to enter our wonderfully creative students annually in the years to come. I was so proud of each one that it was very difficult to select so few,” recalled lower school art teacher Gerry-louise Robinson.
Middle School: Winter Preview Exhibit and Spring Exhibition
It wasn’t business as usual for the middle school art show this year. For the first time, an art exhibit was held at the conclusion of each semester, instead of one show at the end of the school year.
The Middle School Preview Exhibit, held Jan. 5-29 in the Blackford campus’ multipurpose room, showcased the works of Art I students. The Spring Exhibition featured the works of Art II students. It opened on April 8 at the upper school’s main lobby gallery and then moved to the middle school campus on May 9 where it remained for the year.
A special morning art reception with tea and coffee was held on May 12 for parents. Splitting the shows not only allowed each semester’s students to enjoy a show devoted to their work, but it allowed more physical space for each piece, giving attendees room to more fully enjoy the art.
“The result [of having two shows] was breath around the pieces!” recalled Elizabeth Saltos, middle school visual arts teacher. Both shows included colorful paintings, sketches, ceramics, figurines and wire sculptures. For the second year in a row, there was also a campuswide cake party held in the multipurpose room during the lunch periods on May 18. Attendees had a blast eating cake and checking out the art on display.
Upper School: Winter AP Studio Art Exhibition and Spring Artstravaganza
In late April, upper school artists, writers and musicians showcased their work at the annual Artstravaganza, held in the Nichols Hall atrium.
Students, faculty and parents perused artwork and writing (including several winners of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards) while music poured in through the rotunda, courtesy of The Harker School Jazz Band in its final performance of the year. The event afforded students the opportunity to share their work with the Harker community in a relaxed setting.
“It’s something that students and faculty look forward to quite a bit, because it’s always a fun thing and they’re always amazed,” said Jaap Bongers, visual arts department chair. “It boosts [the artists’] self-confidence; it makes them proud. That’s really the main benefit – and it’s a party at the end of the year!”
Back in February, students in AP Studio Art showcased their Advanced Placement exam portfolios. A throng of visitors took in a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints in many different styles and media.
One of the featured artists, Kaylan Huang, grade 12, used ink and colored pencil to create small-scale drawings of cities including Tokyo, San Francisco and Amsterdam. Fellow senior Ankur Karwal used clever graphic design to examine the symbolism of famous brand names including Louis Vuitton, Apple and Nike.