From sculptures to photographs to paintings, the Frank Building’s walls are currently lined with unique, student-created art pieces. From Oct. 19 through Nov. 6, the art department conducted a pop-up art show called “Things Seen and Unseen.” Due to COVID-19, students were required to produce their artwork with materials found in their homes.
“The title also reflects the fact we were unable to have an art show for the Middle School and Upper School as planned at the end of the year because of the virus,” art teacher Brenda Hatter said.
The work on display features pieces created before and during quarantine, as well as current work. With the pandemic still affecting everyday life at school, the art program had to overcome some obstacles. The main concern was maintaining social distancing requirements; therefore, there will be no closing receptions for any of the art shows this year. And, setting up for the show had accompanying challenges, as well.
“The difficulty this year [is] installation and deciding on how to handle a reception for the artists,” sculpture teacher Dane Larsen said. “Had this been a ‘normal year’ we would have had an upper school show this fall in the Eagle Gallery. The show would have exhibited non-AP work from the previous year. Due to the pandemic, two things had changed: not as much work had been produced during the spring semester, and the gallery was—and still is—in use as a classroom.”
There was an adjustment period at the beginning of the year when school was held remotely, as it was difficult for many students to acquire all of the art supplies needed, with shipping being delayed and stores being closed due to the pandemic.
“Amazon ordering was slow, and going to craft stores could expose me to the virus, so it was hard to achieve the vision in my head without the materials needed to build it,” AP sculpture student and senior Mary Cowser added.
But, Larson was prepared to help out these students. He sent them home the second week of March with a box full of supplies to choose from. Now, being back at school has allowed for a more productive use of materials. The art department has made the classrooms safe to work in and maneuver around.
“The last half of the spring semester was not great. The schedule favored asynchronous learning,” Mr. Larsen said, “Though that worked very well for more experienced and highly motivated art students, it was not ideal for most.
Being back at school has allowed students to display their works for others to enjoy. The exhibit captures a different aspect of the community.
“I really love how you can go to any area of the Frank and see a wide variety of art mediums,” Cowser said. “Photographs, sculptures, paintings, pots—you can really enjoy the synthesis of the selected works.”
The quality of the work created remotely, the student’s work ethic and commitment to the art program were not affected.
“I know that the work I’m seeing in my class is no less ambitious and is of as high a quality as I would expect in years past,” Larson said. “We have a remarkably resilient senior class.”
“Things Seen and Unseen” is the school’s first art show to be held during the pandemic, an important marker in school history.
“Being in the art show makes me so proud that I can show off everything I have been working on,” said junior Annie Heldman. “Everyone puts in all of their effort to produce art that will be interesting and draw people in.”