If students Meghan Rubbo and Erika Rosell were nervous about having their work displayed during Tuesday’s opening reception at the Tuesday, they did a good job of hiding it.
The two juniors are part of a group of advanced art students from high schools in Pelham, New Rochelle, Bronxville and Mount Vernon whose works are being exhibited at the Art Center April 17-24. Nearly 50 pieces of artwork was submitted for the program, which is in its second year.
“It wasn’t nerve-wracking at all,” said Rosell, who submitted a re-rendering of Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Horse’. “It was a very smooth process...I don’t see it as competition. I see other works and if I see a real inspiring piece, I want to learn from it. I self-critique when I look around and see what all these other artists my age have done.”
Rubbo, who submitted an oil pastel drawing of a glass bottle, called the experience exciting. She said there is healthy competition among the students who participate in the exhibit.
“If I see something that I haven’t seen before from a student at another school, I want to get up close and personal and see how it’s done,” she said.
Laura Koo Nicholas, gallery and public program manager at the Art Center, said the student exhibit was started last year to give high schoolers the opportunity to show their work to the public. Although many of the students involved have had their works shown at exhibits and galleries, there are others who haven’t had that opportunity.
“I think there is something about choosing a work to be publicly viewable that requires a little bit more confidence, or adventurousness,” Nicholas said. “I think art can be private and here, we’re asking these artists to publicly show a very private expression. I think mentally, it’s an opportunity they may not normally get at their school.”
Pelham High School students were the only ones who participated last year’s exhibit, according to Nicholas. The Art Center decided to invite more schools this year based on the reception the first exhibit received.
“It’s interesting to be able to show the works of all these students side by side,” Nicholas said. “What we did was group the works thematically, which means mixing works from different schools. It’s been interesting to see how some of these pieces do relate to each other, even though they didn’t know each other at the time.”
Nicholas said Art Center coordinated with art teacher at the different high schools to invite their students to participate in the exhibit. The students who wanted to participate were asked to submit one piece of work of their own choosing.
Mackenzie Lipman, a senior at New Rochelle High School, submitted a sculpture of a torso.
“I made a mold of my friend’s body and then I drew all around it and I cut out all of the empty spaces,” Lipman said. “My concentration (in school) is dresses, so I’m doing all these different dresses and in order to make the dresses fit my models, I need to make a plastered piece of their body. When I made this, I just started drawing on it for fun and I just got going.”
Francesca Lamaruggine, a senior at Bronxville High School, submitted protraits of her uncle’s pitbull, Romeo.
“It’s basically showing that these dogs aren’t the stereotypical, mean dogs that people think they are,” Lamaruggine said. “It depends on how they are raised. My uncle’s dog is the sweetest, most gentle dog ever and I wanted to show that with different portraits of him being calm and playful.”
More information on the student exhibit can be found here.