Dartmouth High AP art students hold their first in-person exhibition since 2019

Dartmouth High AP Art students returned to Old Russells Mills School for their first public display since 2019 on Tuesday, April 12, hosted by the Dartmouth Historical and Arts Society.

The show was titled “Studio 555” and featured portfolios from 18 students in two different advanced placement, or AP, high school art classes.

The young artists presented a diverse field of works ranging from digital drawing and photography to fashion and collage which will soon be submitted to the AP Board of Trustees for consideration.

AP art teachers Morgan Bozarth – whose class mainly focuses on photography – and Christine McFee said the classes would usually hold separate exhibitions, but were merged this year because it was a smaller group than usual.

“It’s like a recovery year,” Bozarth said. “Hopefully next year will be more normal.”

Still, McFee praised this year’s students for their collaboration and support for each other.

“It’s a great group of kids,” she said. “They work well together – They want to see each other succeed.”

The two said Dartmouth High makes a conscious effort to encourage PA participation, which can earn students college credit.

“It’s a great learning experience and great preparation for college,” McFee said.

The art teachers explained that each student had to choose a “sustained inquiry” that would serve as a thematic link between all the pieces in their portfolio.

For senior Arianna Stevens, that theme was her emotional experience with her cultural heritage that includes both Filipino and Cape Verdean roots.

In one of its rooms, a mosaic of broken ceramics forms a bowl filled with traditional Filipino ingredients, which is superimposed on a painted background.

“The bowl is that I feel broken in my culture,” Stevens said, explaining that while she identifies with her Filipino heritage, she can’t speak the language, leaving her somewhat isolated from the culture. .

In another piece, Stevens created a cartoonish sculpture of a dark-skinned woman with exaggerated features like long braided hair and wide hips. She said the piece is meant to reflect how the natural characteristics of women of color are often co-opted by white women for fashion, with their cultural significance removed in the process.

“It’s not just hair; it’s more than that,” she said. “It’s who we are. We can’t take it away.

Senior Mia Carter also chose to focus on her family, producing a series of digital paintings and drawings which she said sought to portray her family members in portraiture “while breaking the rules”.

“They capture the feelings I get when I’m with them,” she said. “I just wanted to honor them that way.”

While some of the pieces depicted the family members themselves, others were represented by landscapes that “stood on the border between the real and the fantastical,” she said.

Other topics were less personal but no less significant.

Ella Mercer’s works, for example, were united around sustainability and waste, using collage to emphasize this point.

In one piece, she glued bits of plastic and trash around magazine images of fruit and vegetables, creating a grotesque sense of waste.

In another, she layered plastic bags – stamped “Thank you” with a homemade stamp – over an oil pastel image of the earth to create the illusion that the whole world is falling into a cheap supermarket bag. .

“I wanted to shed light on the problem, because there are many [of waste],” she says.

Some students even pushed the boundaries of their mission, such as senior Kat Charrier who produced a variety of textiles and designs, such as a dress from scratch and a hand-dyed, beaded handkerchief.

“I’m supposed to be into 2D art, but I love sewing,” she said. “So I decided to mix the two together and that’s what came out.”