CHS “On The Wall” Art Exhibit
BY ALFREDO GUZMAN
“On The Wall” is showing at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center. The show had it’s opening reception this Thursday April 27th. “On The Wall” features artwork by Calexico High School students Daniela Lezama, Stephanie Rodriguez, Nayna Salais, Mia Salinas, Yisela Calderon, Jose Espinoza, Nirvana Valenzuela, Arely Arana-Aguilar, Ashley Camacho and Carolina Delgado. Exhibit schedule and hours are April 25th,26th,27th and May 1st and 2nd 4PM-7PM.
Along with the Calexico High School student artwork being showcased, two bands based at Calexico High School played at the opening reception, “Rondalla” which played mariachi music and “School of Rock” which played rock and roll music. All the student artists featured in “On The Wall” are current Calexico High School students taking art classes with Art Teachers Mr.Schiffer and Mr.Zayas.
“On The Wall” is hung with each of the ten Calexico High School students occupying a section of the wall space with their framed artist biography introducing the viewer to their artwork and reasons for making art. The students were also expected to follow a cohesive self imposed theme and create a series around their theme. The expectations and process outlined for this art show are similar to those of a college group show or professional group show.
Calexico High School Art Teacher and “On The Wall” organizer, Mr. Schiffer, stated “Someone dropped out of Artist of the Month (for display at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center), so the time slot was available for the students to display their work.”
Schiffer continued, “I told the students who were chosen to participate that they needed to complete a series of four to seven artworks and write an artist biography during Spring Break. I chose the students for this art show based on how they did artwork outside of class and after school. A lot of these students had participated in group shows before, like the ‘Miniature’ show and the ‘Black and White’ show. But, this was their first solo art show.”
Schiffer also emphasized how dedicated these students are to creating art. “These students didn’t do it for a grade or for extra credit. They did it for the opportunity to show. I also believe a few may have already sold some of their artwork.”
When asked about any students in particular he’d like to single out he said, “Mia Salinas, I believe is going to CalArts. She’s finishing up her portfolio for admittance.”
A staff member searches for colored dot stickers to put next to Mia Salinas’ artwork (colored dot stickers are the universal art show tell for an artwork being sold).
Crowds gather admiring the facility of the technical skill of the paintings. Mia Salinas was the 2017 California Mid-Winter Fair Poster Contest Design winner and is a Senior at Calexico High School. She is currently working on her portfolio for admittance to CalArts.
CalArts is one of the premiere art and design schools on the West coast. Pendleton Ward, the creator of animated series “Adventure Time” and film director Tim Burton are both CalArts alumni. Disney Studios is well known to go head hunting for talent at CalArts.
When asked about her interest in CalArts Mia Salinas said, “I’ve gone to the CalArts Summer art program. You get to pick a Major and take different classes and stay at the dorms. There’s supposed to be a hidden secret compartment in Tim Burton’s old dorm but I didn’t get a chance to see it.”
When asked what she plans to major in Salinas said, ”I plan on attending CalArts and Majoring in Character Animation. But, I need more drawing from life. I need more drawings of people for my portfolio and I wish they offered a class in the Imperial Valley, but I’ll check in Mexicali. I even spoke to someone at IVC and they used to (offer Life Drawing Classes), but not currently. I’m using YouTube videos. I wish there were little workshops or something like that available (in the Imperial Valley).”
“On The Wall” showcases the artistic talents of Calexico High School students. The variety of artwork and different styles expresses the different vision of each student. But, the process and venue speaks of how they are all connected.