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Art students create pieces to showcase in the G building

NAHS comes closer to debuting art in the CoDA festival this May

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Art students create pieces to showcase in the G building

National Art Honor Society students work on a painting led by senior Elizabeth Mcbrian after school in the A building.

National Art Honor Society students work on a painting led by senior Elizabeth Mcbrian after school in the A building.

Kymberly Noone

National Art Honor Society students work on a painting led by senior Elizabeth Mcbrian after school in the A building.

Kymberly Noone

Kymberly Noone

National Art Honor Society students work on a painting led by senior Elizabeth Mcbrian after school in the A building.

Kiara Kaltschnee, Staff Writer

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As the CoDA festival approaches, National Art Honor Society students are coming closer to debuting the six 48-inch by 60-inch canvases they have been working on to decorate the Freshman Academy, quickly becoming known as G building.

As an alternative to painting murals on the walls of the school — which has been prohibited by the city — Principal Dan Donovan proposed the idea of students painting on canvases that would be hung on the walls of the G building, giving it a “professional appearance,” according to Kymberly Noone, art teacher and NAHS advisor.

Donovan introduced the idea of creating canvases to Michael Obre and Noone, both art teachers and NAHS advisors, after watching a video Obre made for a student for senior awards last June. Donovan said, “Last spring I was walking the building and felt it just needed some color. I thought about getting some printed materials and then I was at the senior awards assembly and saw some of the work they produced and thought they were terrific.”

Noone said that after the assembly, Donovan told the art teachers that he “thought it would be good to have some ‘homegrown’ talent displayed” in the G building.

When the school year started, Noone introduced the project to students in NAHS. In the following NAHS meetings, they brought ideas to the drawing board and voted for the ideas that would fill the six canvases, with materials sponsored by the school.

After the votes were in, ideas from juniors Anastasia Herzegovitch and Sophia Robles, and seniors Elizabeth Mcbrian, Harrison Partenio, Lucas Amaral, and Madison Read, were chosen and they became the lead artists on the project. Ideas feature serene landscapes, a gorilla, a giraffe, and a face sectioned off into parts to represent different identities.

Students began to work on their paintings after school on Wednesdays until four o’clock. Along with Wednesdays, Noone said, “I open my FLEX for up to 40 students on Thursdays so they can work during school time.”

Noone said that the lead artists work to organize the piece and “everyone else works as interns. That way, everyone gets to be involved.” By helping the lead artists with their work, NAHS members complete their requirement of 20 hours of community service.

Overall, this project has offered invaluable experiences to both the leaders of the projects and the student interns involved. Lead artist Read said, “The project is teaching me how to lead. Other students aren’t as good at painting or techniques, so I help them develop skills.”

In her painting, Read took a more nature based and serene stance, hoping that it would be calming to the students walking by it. She said, “I felt like a lot of other people were basing them off of subjects. The idea behind mine was a serene scene with cool colors, so it would be soothing and more mystifying.”

Contrasting with Read’s soothing landscape, Partenio proposed the pop art painting of a giraffe. With a simple and plain blue background, the giraffe would attract viewer’s eyes with ease.

Partenio wanted to start a painting that could be all inclusive, and realized that the pop art giraffe would be the right choice. “It’s more simple and everyone can work on it as a team,” he said.

Like Read, Partenio said he was “trying a nature appeal to the school to brighten people’s day.” Partenio said that he believes this project will “brighten the moods of students” by acting as an “escape during the day.”

Lead artist Herzegovitch’s process with developing her idea was similar to Partenio’s, as she didn’t want to conform to just one style of art and one medium. “Everyone was doing paintings, so I thought I would do a collage,” she said. She is leading a collage of a gorilla.

Herzegovitch is nearing the completion of her piece. In her process, she led students, helping them develop their skills and learning from the experience herself. “It was a lot of fun,” she said, “They’re all good artists and they had a good understanding of how I wanted to go about this.”

In the upcoming months, NAHS will be finishing the canvases for their debut at the CoDA festival in May, and Noone hopes they will be able to prop the paintings on large easels outside in the courtyard for viewing. After the festival, they plan to hang them in the G building, and Donovan said he will have Freshman Academy Assistant Principal Kris Davidson choose the locations they will hang.

In the G building, Donovan sees the canvases serving several purposes. “First, it will bring some color to the hallways.  I have not seen the finished products, but of what I have seen they are really cool. Secondly, it will display how talented our students at DHS are,” Donovan said.

Like Donovan, teachers in the G building are also anticipating the debut of the canvases. Ann Tucci, history teacher who was a NAHS member when she was in high school, is “thrilled to see this type of work going on around the building.”

She said, “even for those that don’t necessarily have artistic talent, [they] can surely be admirers of art. I’m a firm believer that artistic expression, whether created or admired, is fundamental to our humanity, culture, and community.”

Overall, Noone and the students said they are excited to finish their artwork, but Noone concluded that “It’s not about the product — it’s the process. No matter how much technology advances, art will always attract students.”

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About the Writer
Kiara Kaltschnee, Staff Writer

Ever since I was little, I couldn’t put a book down. My passion for reading has grown heavily over the years, while my interest in writing has paralleled...

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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800
Art students create pieces to showcase in the G building