By: Madison Schioppo
Art Day is an annual event where students showcase their talents and passion for art through visual displays and demonstrations in the hallway. Typically, incoming middle schoolers visit and explore potential art classes on this day. This year, however, the art department coordinated a video screening featuring art room tours and a virtual exhibition highlighting the art electives to keep the tradition alive with the current circumstances. The art teachers collaborated on an art exhibition in the lobby and in the NAHS gallery outside of the library to feature the best the department has to offer. On January 14th and 15th, several students worked socially distant in the lobby, displaying their skills in a variety of media including colored pencil, pastel, and photoshop. The HSE art department has endless possibilities for students interested in learning art, such as film and video, fashion design, architecture, design and illustration, digital media, and more. This is all in addition to the traditional courses, such as drawing and painting, photography, and ceramics. Mrs. Uttendorfer was proud to continue the annual tradition and happy to answer questions about the art program while monitoring the art day station.
Another annual event, the AP Art History installation, has had a large impact on students and faculty for many years. Creating a large scale installation is something that not all art teachers can tackle within their schools. The support that HHH has provided to the AP Art History class over the last 16 years is unprecedented. This year’s installation, although on a slightly smaller scale than years past, still had the visual impact that the class was looking for. The main goal is to have students and teachers question ‘what is art?’ and inquire about the course. AP Art History is a comprehensive course where students explore the history of art by examining work from diverse cultures and the relationships among these works. Students also develop an understanding of global artistic traditions.
Taking place on January 21st and 22nd, the AP Art History class worked hard to create a large scale and intuitive installation called “Connect the Dots.” Looking back on 2020 and even as 2021 progresses, this year has been full of surprises that no one has asked for and no one expected, and the vast majority of these surprises can be attributed to the Covid pandemic. In order to effectively display this turmoil, Mrs. Uttendorfer’s AP Art History class proposed their installation idea consisting of dozens of removable colored dots. The core of the installation will surround the necessity of consciousness regarding our actions during this time period, as caution is of huge importance when it comes to preventing the spread of Covid. The dozens of dots represent the chaos of this year as a whole as the difference in each dot’s color and size effectively displays the lack of unity portrayed throughout the country. Whether it comes to the political discourse regarding the recent election, racial tensions, or climate change and brush fires, the issues of 2020 and even 2021 have been like no other, and the AP Art History class wanted to represent all of it. Like all artwork, each viewers’ interpretation will differ with the range of difference spanning from the hope needed to power through these difficult times to a reflection of the uncertain times throughout this year. This difference will surely be reflected in each individual who has the opportunity to admire the installation.
The installation was inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s polka-dot-heavy artworks, which often consist of hundreds of dots covering a huge area. Similar to Kusama’s installations, the students decided to attach various sizes of dots on the walls and floors in a hallway of the school. By doing so, the AP Art History class will be paying tribute to her works while simultaneously acknowledging the troubles of 2020 and 2021. The AP Art History class is thankful to have had the opportunity to bring awareness and reflect on the past and current hardships, especially the Covid pandemic, while continuing the longstanding tradition of the Art History installations.
Photos courtesy of Samantha Rosenberg.