Artists are always in cycles of ideating and creating, but producing art in a vacuum or a bedroom is nowhere near as creatively satisfying or inspiring as making it in a collaborative environment and presenting it to the public. 

This year’s senior class understands that difference intimately, having gone from their freshman year art classes to almost two years of artistic isolation before triumphantly returning to the group studio and having their senior year of work culminate in a gallery show. 

“To be able to show your art to people in person is a remarkable event,” said senior painter Meira Tuller. “It is one thing to see a piece digitally, yet you can’t exactly reach it with your full vision as you can see it right in front of your face. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity that I could partake in, and hope in the future to have more art shows at the University I plan to attend.”

The art show is typically only open to seniors, but given the lack of opportunities for students to publicly showcase their work, the art department decided to open the show to all students. As a result, there was an even greater crowd than normal and photography teacher and art department chair Martin Ledford estimated a couple hundred people attended the opening in the new Roberts Art Gallery on May 12.

“Art is super interactive, so to experience this art show in person and watch people connect to different pieces was so ethereal,” said senior painter and printer River Weill. “Like, ‘Ahh you want to look at my work!’ A lot of my friends are in the art program and it was nice to see them getting attention for their work as well.”

Samohi’s end-of-year art show featured work across a wide range of mediums including painting, photography, digital painting, ceramics and sculpture. It was an excellent opportunity for art students to see the work being completed in other classes and share their accomplishments with their teachers, friends and family. 

“It was really special to have an in-person opening instead of a digital art event. It was nice to actually interact with the people who had work up and ask them questions,” Matthew Alas, a senior photographer, said in a message to the Daily Press following the show. “Art always looks good when it’s physical and right in front of you. It was also refreshing to see old art teachers I had in the past who taught me a lot and very nice to show them the work I’m doing right now.” 

Ledford also expressed his excitement and relief to be back creating in person, noting the improvement that his students have been able to make on campus. 

“It’s one thing to talk about photographs in Zoom learning, but it’s another to actually get into a darkroom and the whole hands on experience of being there and touching the product and being on a shoot stage and ingesting light, there is just no replacing that,” said Ledford.

Ledford also said his photography students greatly benefited from working in teams and being able to critique each other’s art and develop camaraderie. Despite the challenges that senior art students faced over their high school career, they achieved many awards and are heading to prestigious art schools such as the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Several seniors were also awarded art scholarships recognizing their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the department. These include: Bryson Crumbie, Stephanie Garcia-Pliego, Adrien Frym, David Meshkanian, Bahar Vasli, Kayhan Mokhtari, Jackson Goldman and Inez Lynch Alfaro.