Preview: Venice High School’s Annual Art Show

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Amy Carranza, A & E Editor

The Venice High School Annual Art Show is coming back after its year-and-a-half long hiatus.

The showcase will occur during the Venice High School In-Person Open House today from 5-7 p.m. All are invited to come by and admire the work of participating students.

Art teacher Tyler Fister, who teaches Painting, Design, and AP Art History at Venice High, believes that this celebration for the arts will be momentous, not only for the viewers, but also for himself and the students.

“Now that COVID-19 restrictions are starting to open up, it’s a good time for students to present the work that they’ve been working on and let the community here at Venice recognize the talented artists we have here,” Fister said.

“I think part of the way that I teach art is to think about the role that art has in the world, and during COVID-19, the sharing of so many things was lost,” he said. 

In 2020, unfortunately, just as students were preparing for that year’s art show, COVID-19 shut down the school, and many artists missed the chance to show off their work. 

The outcome of their efforts was not so expected either.

“When the school had to go on lockdown, all the artwork was left in the auditorium, and sadly, because there was no one on campus for a while, a lot of the artwork was vandalized and our work was destroyed,” Fister said. 

Since there was no art show planned last school year, Fister went to social media to shed light on what the artists at Venice who continued their creativity despite setbacks were doing.

“I did some digital curation of students’ art on Instagram, @venicehs_visualart, but there was no actual digital art show,” Fister said.

However, the experience of having people praise their artistic expression will happen again.

“This art show, in a way, will bring the validation that the students didn’t get for the past year and a half because when we left, the show was cut short,” he said.

“I think this time around I’m able to provide meaningful prompts over all my projects, but a meaningful experience that shows Venice as a community and Venice High School as a flourishing arts community, too.”

Art teacher Christopher Wright, who teaches Intro to Art and AP Studio Art, also has great hopes for the art show this year as in-person teaching has finally let students learn how to use uncommon materials for their projects.

“COVID-19 made a lot of students, especially the serious artists, really go to YouTube and get instructions, which was cool, but they’re unfamiliar with 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 big time,” he said.

It’ll be a big boost to promote the artwork and creative minds at Venice, possibly motivating them to do more with this kind of expression in the future, according to Wright.

“There’s an added impetus that stems from having people respond to your work,” he said. “It can change your mind about this profession, like, ‘People are responsive. Wow, they think the art’s good! I guess I could do more like that.’”

“I just really encourage students to keep working on their skills and abilities,” he said.

Senior Maile Jones and freshman Angel Hernandez are two of many who will be in the art show.

“I’m excited to see everyone’s work and to also show off what I’ve been working on,” Jones said. “I’m kind of nervous too, but it’ll be nice to hear people say they like 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 graduation, Jones wants to major in art and build a career as an illustrator.

“I still get the same enjoyment out of making art whether I’m in the classroom 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 has also been working on her final portfolio and has made her pieces an option for the art show. 

“Since everyone wanted to focus on hands for their portfolio, I wanted to be different, so my goal was to try and gain a better understanding of the study of feet,” she said.

Similarly to Jones, Hernandez has had a creative mind since a young age and it has helped him to express himself through innovative messages and meanings.

With Fister as a teacher, the classroom space and the prompts given to inspire artwork have allowed Hernandez to freely explore different art forms.

“We like to experiment with a lot of different tools there,” he said. “We’ve done some carvings, we’ve done paintings with acrylics and watercolors.”

Hernandez is still unsure of what he’ll be presenting, or what his future is as an artist, but he’s looking forward to enjoying the art show through the eyes of a viewer in the meantime.

“I’m not really letting the stress get into my head,” he said.