Hanging paper lanterns blew gently in the breeze as the lower school’s gymnasium doors swung open on April 28, kicking off the campus’ much-anticipated art show. The annual exhibition, which began that afternoon with a well-attended reception in the gym’s foyer, ran until May 21. It featured selected academic and after-school works of K-5 students.
Refreshments were served in the main gallery (the gym lobby) as exhibiting students once again demonstrated an impressive range of artistic abilities. Artwork on display included monochromatic pencil drawings, watercolor paintings, collages and ceramics.
There was an interactive feel to this year’s show, which wound its way from the lobby into the gym, up the stairs and all the way to the top-floor classrooms – even extending into the kitchens and art rooms. Parents, faculty members and students slowly meandered through the event, viewing the wonderfully artistic and often whimsical pieces, which were arranged by theme and grade level.
“The art show was a great success. We had many parents and students come by not only to find their own personal pieces, but to also view the wide selection on show. We even had a family who had gone home to get ‘dressed’ up for the event; it was very sweet,” recalled Gerry-louise Robinson, Harker’s lower school art teacher.
“The highlight for me was the vibrancy and color that was in the displays, with first grade work displayed comfortably next to fifth grade work. We also had a wonderful display highlighting the Japanese wood coasters which were made during a visit from Maruko, the Japanese exchange teacher from Tamagawa this year,” she continued.
Back in the winter, Maruko Ishigami, an art teacher from Tamagawa Academy K-12 School & University – Harker’s sister school in Tokyo, Japan – helped teach art classes for grades 2-5, showing the second and third graders how to make traditional Japanese wood coasters and instructing the fourth and fifth graders in various painting techniques used in her country.
Grade 2 students Emi Fujimura, Shayla He and Shareen Chahal agreed that the best thing about making the wood coasters with Ishigami was “building it” from scratch, noting that the process reminded them of putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Classmate Vivek Nayyar said he especially enjoyed having a “visiting teacher” come to the classroom.
Another highlight of the art show was the collection of winter-themed illustrations, with pictures of trees drawn in black against a sky-blue backdrop, amid delicately falling white snowflakes. Among the various drawings were “Winter Trees,” from the after-school art program, using watercolor and white pencil; “Worm View Winter Trees,” made by students in grade 5 using construction paper and tempura paint; and “Camouflage Winter Scene,” by grade 4 students working with colored pencils.
The colors of many other illustrations took on a decidedly playful theme, such as the charming, colorful penguins clad in scarves called “Chilly Penguins” made by kindergartners. These were made of construction paper collage. Brightly drawn fall pumpkin scenes were also a big hit with various grade levels, including kindergartners, and first and third graders.
Particularly unique to the show was an exhibit called “Perched Owls” from the kindergartners, which comprised glazed ceramic owls sitting in rows perched atop the branches of a tree made out of construction paper. Meanwhile, at a display table nearby, grade 4 students showcased pencil drawings titled “Monochromatic Castles” as well as sculpted versions (made out of ceramic, glaze and mixed media) simply called “Castles.”
According to Anoushka Khatri, grade 4, the best thing about the art show was “the chance it gives you to not only see your work represented, but all your friends’ work, too.”
Nathan Wang, grade 5, agreed. “Everybody has at least one thing in the art show,” he added.
Wang’s classmate, Alex Baeckler, said she had actually made an art piece that was intended to be a surprise for her dad on Father’s Day, but had to let the cat out of the bag when he happened upon it during the art show. “He was still really surprised and happy to see it … and I’m still going to give it to him after the show!” she said, smiling proudly.
“The students really demonstrated their talents and creativity. What amazing students we have!” enthused Robinson.