The Senior School art show at the McPherson Playhouse

I consider myself very lucky, and I know the other art teachers do, too. We spend our days immersed in the amazing artwork that the students at SMUS create. We also recognize the importance of sharing that work with other students, families and the wider school community. While learning and creating carries its own intrinsic value, it is also important to offer students opportunities to showcase their artwork in public. Not only does it give them a sense of pride and accomplishment, but it also helps fulfill the fundamental purpose of art in the first place.

One of the key benefits of exhibiting student artwork is that it allows them to gain confidence in their abilities. When they see their work displayed in a public setting, they are able to recognize the value of their talents and feel proud of their achievements. This can be especially important for students who may struggle with self-doubt or lack of motivation, as it helps them to see that their efforts are worthwhile. This validation and recognition of their hard work can boost their self-esteem, and can inspire them to continue to develop their artistic skills.

In addition, visual art is fundamentally a form of visual communication which typically requires an audience for an artist to communicate with. While some artists prefer to keep their work private, most art is intended for the public. Whether an emotion is expressed, an idea is explained, or a window is opened to a new world, the dialogue that is initiated when art is shared makes the experience richer for both artist and the audience.

One student-driven initiative is the online publication of SMart Magazine. In its second year, senior student Michelle Jin curates and designs an incredible publication, accompanied by Steven Song's text. Please check out the most recent edition, as well as the back catalogue. 

I am excited that our school will be hosting two public art shows in the coming months to give our students the opportunity to share their works with an audience and spur on that dialogue. 

First, after a hiatus due to COVID, we will hang art in the McPherson Playhouse once again. This art show next week is timed to coincide with the school production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and the community is invited to view the art during intermission. This first show will be more of a preview and will showcase the work of a smaller selection of our students. 

The second art show, which will be held on campus later in the spring in Brown Hall, will be more comprehensive and will feature art from many more students. Being on campus, we hope to bring as many students as possible through the art show, to learn from and be inspired by each other.

Both will be great opportunities for our students to share their work to a wider audience, and I encourage all members of our community to come out and support our talented young artists.