With its paintings, graphics, photographs, ceramics and drawings, The Harvey School’s annual art exhibit, housed at the John Jay Homestead in Katonah, could very well be one of the school’s most successful to date.
The art show, which opened May 17 and will run through May 30, showcases the work of approximately 200 middle- and high-school students. The exhibit touches upon a variety of themes and cultures, including the world of ancient Egypt and Greece, the Roman Empire, the Japanese style of dress and the more popular elements of our society. Worthy of mention are Ancient Egyptian-inspired paintings from Brian Ryerson, Benjamin Halder, Reissa Ress, Hanna McKean and Ashley Morgenthal. Japanese-inspired kimono designs were tastefully recreated by ninth-graders, Deirdre Brady, Julia Foster, Michael Barefield and Alyssa Mustafa.
“This year’s show represents a culmination of the year activities,” says Carol Bonicelli, chair of the Fine Arts Department, referring to the students’ best work currently on display. “While it’s certainly better than last year’s show, previous years have been equally as good,”she adds. The show’s more dramatic pieces include a three-paneled painting of a red dragon on silk by senior Joanna Schiff, a gutta serta silk painting of an eagle by Rob Edelman, an intricate and colorful painting on silk by Gerrit Dykstra and a collection of ceramic masks by various student artists.
At a time when many schools are “cutting their art programs to the bone,” says Ms. Bonicelli, the fine arts curriculum at Harvey remains one of the most respected and successful in the area due to its crop of talented students and to its teachers, who know how important art education is to a student’s success. “We have really gone out of our way to augment it as much as we can,” she adds. At the high school level, students are required to take one year of art, which includes music, drama and the fine arts. Those interested in pursuing a career in art can avail of the school’s portfolio program, a year long course which begins in 11th grade and prepares students for entrance to art school.
Currently, the middle school offers classes in the rudimentary elements of art such as drawing, painting and ceramics, while the upper school provides a much broader curriculum that includes photography, computer graphics, architecture and fashion design. An after-school program for both middle- and upper school students is also available, offering classes in hands-on crafts.
Beyond the classroom walls, students have also had an opportunity to get a taste for what lies ahead in the world of professional art. The Katonah Museum of Art, in collaboration with schools in Westchester, Fairfield and Putnam counties, supplements arts education in the classroom by sponsoring an annual exhibit entitled “Young Artists.” Included in this year’s line-up were five Harvey students. Ms. Schiff, who has been accepted to the Pratt Institute in New York City, proudly mounted her red dragon painting at the exhibit, which ran from April 13 to 21 and featured more than 150 student works. Others like senior Tiffany Franqui displayed the best of her work in photography, while Nicholas Hertz’s glass-slumped bowl was also worthy of display. Fashion design drawings by Kate Simshauser were also included, as were a number of mixed media landscapes by Andrew Stark.
While the Young Artists exhibit certainly gives students the rare opportunity to organize and mount their own museum pieces, the school’s own exhibit is a way for them to show off their accomplishments to parents and the entire school population. The more imaginative items on display included Shari Solinsky’s impression of the Pepperidge Farm cookie collection and two masks, one from Jason Filler and another from Evan Ellis. Painted in water colors, Ms. Solinsky, a 10th-grader, titled her piece: “Pepperidge Farm: Never Have an Ordinary Day.” Below her drawings of popular Pepperidge Farm cookie packages, including the Chessman, Milano and Geneva varieties, was the line: “If you’re gonna have a cookie, have a cookie.” Icons from popular culture included a portrait of the “Material Girl,” by Marissa Penn, a rather interesting portrait of Ozzy Osbourne, a picture of Spiderman swinging through the air and impressions of various sports players.
For more samples of art that appeared in the art show, please take a look at our slideshow.