The Saratoga Sun -

Feast for the senses


Between 6 and 8 p.m. May 5, visitors to the commons area of the Saratoga Middle/High School (SM/HS) were transported to a different world. Soft, slinky selections such as “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Impressions” floated through the air courtesy of the school jazz band. Wafting alongside the grace notes was the smell of exotic appetizers prepared by the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). The creamy pesto pinwheels, strawberry bruschetta and herbed onion parmesan toasts were likewise just garnishes to the evening’s main entree, however: the annual SM/HS Fine Arts Festival.

Work from about 50 art students ranging from seventh to twelfth grade was on display in the foyer, and over the course of the evening, approximately 80 parents, students, teachers and other community members turned out to tour the exhibition. Noel Shepard, the school’s art teacher, organized the soiree and declared himself “very pleased with how it all went.”

The student artwork on display encompassed a wide range of disciplines. After studying units devoted to mosaics, collages, observational still lifes, slab-built pottery, print-making, acrylic painting and water colors in Shepard’s classes, students set about making their own creations. There was also a display which featured students mimicking the styles of famous artists whom they had studied, from Roy Lichtenstein to Georgia O’Keefe.

With ample space to experiment creatively and explore individual interests, the show served as a forum to recognize the efforts of students who may not get the attention often afforded to high school athletes. One student had left a sketchbook full of comic-style drawings and studies of the human form on a desk, with a note informing passers-by that it was part of the exposition and meant to be flipped through. A collage featuring a sea of grasping human arms in front of a foreboding city skyline lit by lightning likewise arrested several visitors with its striking composition. Several students attended the show in dress clothes suitable for the prom or a wedding, revealing how large the fair loomed.

The event also featured a silent auction of student art work to raise money for improving the pottery area of the SM/HS art room. Shepard said the proceeds from this (and the appetizers sold by the FCCLA) totaled over $1,000, which will go towards, clay, glazes and ceramic tools.

With a stockpile of new material and supplies, it will be interesting to see what fruits next year’s Fine Arts Festival will yield.


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