At the close of each semester, the Holy Family Catholic High School Visual Arts Department features a showcase of student work in ceramics, painting, drawing, illustration, photography, and videography. This year’s showcase occurred during our period of online learning, but dedicated visual art instructors, Dr. Shelagh Gamble and Mr. Brad Perrin-Smith, remained committed to seeing their students artwork presented for viewing for the Holy Family Community.
Artwork in feature image is ceramic by Reyana S.
A full list of students featured in the art show is included at the bottom of this post. All artworks included in this showcase are the property of the student artists and Holy Family Catholic High School, and may not be used without permission.
We checked in with Dr. Gamble and Mr. Perrin-Smith to learn more about the virtual showcase.
How did you come up with the idea of a virtual show?
Dr. Gamble: It’s been a popular thing to do at art museums with all the closures, and it just made sense to give it a try. The biggest challenge I had was that students had to learn how to photograph 3-D artwork at their homes, which as Mr. Perrin-Smith knows is an art form in itself.
Mr. Perrin-Smith: The virtual show is really no different for the photography students, as we always have this type of presentation showing in the Bus Lobby on a big screen during the event. This year, we just decided to add the non-photo students work the same way.
Why is it important to continue with the showcase?
Mr. Perrin-Smith: I believe it is good to continue for two reasons: the goal of showing keeps the student on track and working; the result of showing/exhibiting, is a critical component of art-making. It allows the artist’s voice to be heard and just as important, allows the artist to hear the audiences’ voice, praise, dislike, or ambivalence, from which the artist learns how to clarify their voice/expression.
Dr. Gamble: I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Perrin Smith’s comments. In addition, our students have been working hard on their artwork all semester, and some over longer periods of time. I wanted to make sure everyone, especially our seniors had a chance to share their work with the community.
Are your students still creating art even though they are learning from home? If so, what type of assignments have they had?
Mr. Perrin-Smith: Photo students always create outside of class, so it is not so different. Things would have been the same EXCEPT shelter-in-place and social distancing effected the opportunities and also became some of the topics.
Dr. Gamble: Absolutely! The painting and drawing students are completing assignments fairly similar to what we would do in the classroom. The clay students, however, are doing some completely different things since they don’t have access to clay. They have worked on recycled sculptures, Origami, museum tours and re-makes and even tried to make their own clay! It has been a pretty wild experiment.
What has inspired you when working with your students online?
Mr. Perrin-Smith: Willingness to try different things and maintain some semblance of normal class routines.
Dr. Gamble: The students continue to create artwork in so many creative ways, despite the challenges they are facing. Many of them are working in materials they have never tried before and they have really embraced the process.
What have you missed most about teaching during online learning?
Mr. Perrin-Smith: Group critiques, though it should be as easily done in on-line meetings, the students seem less willing to engage in the same way using technology.
Dr. Gamble: I miss the energy and collaboration that happens when students are creating in the same space. The little conversations and informal feedback that happens as the work is being made is invaluable to the final results. Art can be such a collaborative process and not having the interactions can force us into closed circles of creating.
List of students submitting work in the Spring Art Showcase
Here are my students: