Venice High School’s annual art exhibition returns after a year-and-a-half hiatus.
The showcase will take place during Venice High School’s in-person Open House today from 5-7 p.m. All are invited to come and admire the work of the participating students.
Art teacher Tyler Fister, who teaches AP painting, design and art history at Venice High, believes this celebration of the arts will be momentous, not just for viewers, but also for himself and students.
“Now that the COVID-19 restrictions are starting to open up, it’s a good time for students to showcase the work they’ve been working on and let the community here in Venice recognize the talented artists we have here,” said Fister.
“I think part of the way I teach art is to think about the role that art has in the world, and during COVID-19 so much sharing has been lost,” said- he declared.
In 2020, unfortunately, as students prepared for that year’s art exhibition, COVID-19 closed the school and many artists missed the opportunity to show their work.
The result of their efforts was also not so expected.
“When the school had to be closed, all the artwork was left in the auditorium, and unfortunately, because there was no one on campus for a while, a lot of artwork art were vandalized and our work was destroyed,” Fister said.
Since there was no art exhibition scheduled last year, Fister took to social media to shed light on what Venice artists were doing who continued their creativity despite setbacks.
“I did a digital curation of student art on Instagram, @venicehs_visualart, but there was no real digital art exhibit,” Fister said.
However, the experience of having people praising their artistic expression will happen again.
“This art exhibit, in a way, will provide validation that the students haven’t had in a year and a half because when we left the exhibit was cut short,” he said.
“I think this time around I’m able to provide meaningful incentives for all of my projects, but meaningful experience that shows Venice as a community and Venice High School as a thriving arts community as well.”
Art teacher Christopher Wright, who teaches Intro to Art and AP Studio Art, also has high hopes for this year’s art exhibition, as in-person teaching has finally allowed students to learn how to use unusual materials for their projects.
“COVID-19 caused a lot of students, especially serious artists, to really go to YouTube and get instructions, which was cool, but they don’t know the techniques,” Wright said.
“There was a whole year where the students and I didn’t have those moments of interest and that absence also wore people out,” he said.
This will be a big boost in promoting artwork and creative minds in Venice, perhaps motivating them to do more with this kind of expression in the future, according to Wright.
“There’s an extra boost that comes from people responding to your work,” he said. “It can change your mind about this profession, like, ‘People are reactive. Wow, they think the art is good! I guess I could do more like that.
“I really encourage students to keep working on their skills and abilities,” he said.
Senior Maile Jones and rookie Angel Hernandez are two of the many who will take part in the art show.
“I’m excited to see everyone’s work and also show off what I’ve been working on,” Jones said. “I’m a little nervous too, but it will be nice to hear people say they love my art.”
She was inspired by the artists around her growing up, such as Pixar illustrators Domee Shi and Deanna Marsigliese. Then she started making art.
After graduating, Jones wants to major in art and embark on a career as an illustrator.
“I always feel the same pleasure in making art, whether I’m in class or not,” she said. “I’m always looking to learn more about techniques and different media.”
Since Jones is in Wright’s AP Studio Art class, she also worked on her final portfolio and made her pieces an option for the art exhibit.
“Since everyone wanted to focus on hands for their portfolio, I wanted to be different, so my goal was to try to understand the study of feet better,” she said.
Like Jones, Hernandez has had a creative mind from a young age and it has helped him express himself through innovative messages and meanings.
With Fister as a teacher, the classroom space and the incentives given to inspire artwork allowed Hernandez to freely explore different art forms.
“We like to experiment with a lot of different tools there,” he said. “We did sculptures, we did acrylic and watercolor paintings.”
Hernandez still isn’t sure what he’ll be presenting or his future as an artist, but he’s looking forward to enjoying the art exhibit through the eyes of a viewer in the meantime.
“I don’t really let stress get into my head,” he said.