Art Department to Reclaim Gallery Space


MHS Art Gallery exhibit of found poems by Creative Writing

If you happened to pass by room 1212, you would notice that it is not, in fact, art hanging in the gallery, but a few sets of foldable chairs and a plastic table. The area is currently being used as a meeting room for faculty and administration in lieu of the space’s intended purpose, which is to display the artistic talents of the students. I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Ludt, an MHS art teacher, about the situation.

Mr. Ludt said that the “gallery has been temporarily repurposed as a conference space,” but it will be reopened the week of October 15 with an exhibition of works created by Advanced Art 1 students. The gallery is a massive part of the identity of the art department, and the space has evolved to encompass various artistic mediums over time. Just last year, the art department collaborated with the English department’s Creative Writing class to host the first-ever installation of blackout poetry, a process in which someone takes a page of text from a book and ‘finds poetry’ by blacking out lines until only certain words remain. The space has also adapted to include digital works from art classes that focus on media like animation, photography, and digital art. Using the space to concentrate on more student-generated art is what makes the gallery such a gem in our high school. This space gives many adolescents a place to voice their opinions and ideas by letting their artwork speak for itself. 

With the reclamation of the gallery, there will be up to twenty-seven unique works of art showcased until October 31. A majority of these works are acrylic on canvas inspired by different artists and prevalent art movements in history. The way that these pieces are presented won’t be a traditional exhibition; according to Mr. Ludt, “The students themselves will hang their artwork to add more personality to the gallery.” This is something that has never been done before, and this exhibit will be an eclectic collection of artistic and student expression. 

I had the opportunity to interview three students from the Advanced Art 1 class that will have their work showcased in the gallery. While every student will write a short description under their piece for the gallery, I wanted to get an understanding of the exercise behind creating a work of art. 

Junior Madigan Haynes is working with more unusual and non-conventional mediums for her piece, focusing on art movements such as post-post-minimalism and street art. So far, she loves the class because “We get to do what we want with the concepts we’re given.”. Her process involved making sketches of her design on paper and then translating that into a three-dimensional sculpture made of wooden panels, a captivating mix of painting and sculpture. 

Mary Hsu, a senior, is working with acrylic on canvas to create a piece inspired by the impressionist movement and other art focused on fantasy. Many of her paintings include orchestral instruments like the viola and violin, and this piece is no exception. Her process involved some preliminary sketches that she fine-tuned and recreated on canvas. Mary Hsu is no newcomer to the gallery, seeing as her art was featured last year during the Painting and Drawing exhibition of realistic graphite portraits. 

Finally, Julia Hylbert, a senior, found inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh’s use of thick layers of paint and complementary color schemes. She says that she “is inspired by the way he paints his sunflowers, and how there was such a striking contrast of his background to the object present in the foreground.” Using these inspirations, her new acrylic painting for the gallery takes note of the delicate balance between flora and fauna. Julia is glad that she “gets to take more artistic freedoms in this class” and is very excited for what’s to come.

If you have any free time in the next two weeks, visit room 1212 to look at some of the incredible artwork produced by the Advanced Art 1 students.