SAMOHI — Santa Monica High School’s sprawling campus was eerily quiet on Monday, the final day of winter break and still absent the student population set to trudge back in the next day after two weeks off.
It was not completely devoid of life, however.
Youth armed with hammers and nails were busy at the Roberts Art Gallery hanging artwork in myriad styles and forms in preparation for the school’s third Homegrown Art Show and Sale, an event meant to raise funds and awareness for the school’s art programs.
Caer Ferguson, a senior at Tufts University and a graduate of Samohi, supervised the set-up, which she likened to a pop-up art gallery for the speed at which the show came together.
This is her third year running the program, which she put together with the help of Zoe Blue, another alumni who was able to coordinate things in Santa Monica while Ferguson was on the East Coast.
“We put the show together in a day,” she said.
The idea for the Homegrown Art Show and Sale was, as one might predict, also a local product.
Ferguson saw the student orchestra holding musical salons in private homes in order to accomplish many of the same goals — get the word out and bring some cash in.
“If you’re in need of money for the art department and there’s none to be found, you have to get creative,” Ferguson said.
This year, the schedule was tight.
Ferguson has only been in town since Dec. 13, hardly enough time to gather, price and hang the artwork, much less get word out about the sale.
“We put out the call for artwork a month before winter break,” Ferguson said.
Still, works from Samohi’s advanced placement art classes poured in, as did pieces by teachers and even alumni-turned professional artists. The works include paintings, three dimensional works and even pieces made of woven thread.
The youngest participant is a freshman at Samohi, and the oldest are adults at the school.
Most of the art, however, was produced by people under the age of 25, Ferguson said.
It was the first time that she’s ever had to turn down artwork, a sign of how deeply the DIY art show has resonated in the community in a relatively short time.
Ferguson, Blue, art teacher Amy Bouse and a handful of other volunteers were busily arranging the selected pieces on the blank walls of the Roberts Art Gallery Monday morning.
It’s not an exact science with so little time to devote to it, she said, but the idea is to arrange pieces that work together without drowning one another out so that the experience is relatively seamless for the viewer.
The works will be priced between $50 and $200, with proceeds to be split between the artist and the department in varying percentages.
Some pieces are outright donations, with all the money going to the department. Others, like a colorful depiction of birds by the late Samohi digital design teacher Richard McGee, are not for sale.
In past years, the show has been fairly successful, raising a few thousand dollars for the department.
That makes a big difference in classes where teachers scrimp by on as little as $10 a week for a class of 30 art students, Bouse said.
She supplements that as best she can by requesting donations and going out for grants, but it’s difficult. The money and attention brought by the Homegrown Art Show and Sale really make a difference, she said.
“There is good stuff happening here, and people need to know it,” Bouse said.
The doors to the show open at 3:30 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 10, and continues until 7:30 p.m. In addition to the artwork, performers including Dilettante, Zoe Zelkind, Peaceful Antelopus, Wes Filer and Phoebe Bridgers will perform live music.
There will also be live drawing, as well as refreshments and snacks.