Washburn hosts annual art show

Dozens of Washburn High School students displayed pieces of art in a show at the school on Monday. Photo by Nate Gotlieb
Dozens of Washburn High School students displayed pieces of art in a show at the school on Monday. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Dozens of Washburn High School students displayed pieces in an annual art show on Monday, held this year at the school.

The show featured works from students in the school’s International Baccalaureate visual art and studio art classes. Art students also sold cupcakes and pottery pieces to raise money for new art supplies.

Arts teacher Kathleen Cassidy said the IB art class is for 11th- and 12th-graders who’ve decided to take advanced art. She said it allows students to be internationally minded and participate in a rigorous exploration of art.

Students get opportunities to create their own artwork, reflect upon their art making process and do research about artists from diverse cultural and historical contexts, she added.

The art show featured pieces from students in Washburn's International Baccalaureate and studio art classes. Photo by Nate Gotlieb
The art show featured pieces from students in Washburn’s International Baccalaureate and studio art classes. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

IB art students Abby Owen, Ivie Hanson and Yesenia Villanueva each had pieces in the show on Monday, while Owen and Hanson were also selling cupcakes to raise money for supplies. Hanson said she’s learned a lot about identity and new ways to represent herself as an artist through the class. Owen noted all of the different mediums the students in the class get to try throughout the year, and Villanueva said she realized she enjoys contemporary art.

Art teacher Cristina Benz, who teaches ceramics and studio art, said the department usually has the show at Hennepin County Library — Washburn. But she said the teachers decided to hold the show at the school this year to highlight the students’ work and so parents could support it.

“We want it to be a community, and we want it to authentically be a community,” she said.

Benz said her goal this semester was to bring each class on a field trip and bring in an artist to speak to each class. One artist, Peyton Russell, taught the students about graffiti art and helped them each create their own graffiti tags. Benz also worked with the Million Artist Movement and artist Melodee Strong, who helped the students make a wall mural for the school’s new science wing.

Strong was on hand Monday as several of the students cut a ceremonial ribbon to celebrate the completion of the mural.

“The goal is just to beautify our school,” Benz said during the ceremony.

A new mural adorns a wall in Washburn High School's new science wing. Photo by Nate Gotlieb
A new mural adorns a wall in Washburn High School’s new science wing. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Also at the fair, parents were on hand selling student-designed T-shirts to help students facing homelessness. Several students in the IB art class had designed the shirts.

Eleventh-grader Emma Kaveckis created the design for one of the shirts, calling her artwork “Drowned.” The work showed a girl who appears to be drowning who is weighed down by a dollar symbol.

In an artist’s statement, Kaveckis said she thought the idea of slowly sinking was a good representation of the feeling surrounding teen homelessness. Kaveckis also noted how she gave the girl a gag, which she wrote represents the shame and fear that compels homeless teens to keep quiet about their struggle.

There are several ways interested community members can support the arts at Washburn, from joining its arts council to attending concerts and shows. Visit washburn.mpls.k12.mn.us/arts_council to learn more.

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