Students in Lisa Yutzy’s art class at Patriot High School presented their final projects to peers, family members and staff Dec. 15. The classroom was set up to mimic a professional art opening, with students standing near their displayed artwork, describing it to attendees and answering their questions.
The event served as a platform for students to exercise their artistic voice. Twelfth-grader Kayla Burke, 18, used charcoal to recreate a photo she took of her best friend. “Talking about [the artwork] let’s other people know they can do it, too,” she said, noting that the event helped her to break out of her comfort zone. She said she received encouragement and motivation from Yutzy as she completed her piece.
Many students focused on social justice themes for their subject. Tenth-grader Angela Pretzeus, 16, created a piece about air pollution and the effects on the human population. “I was focusing on something I’m really passionate about,” she said. “Air pollution is a big concern that not many people realize.” Yutzy said this is an opportunity for students to have a voice in solving current global social issues.
The artists had 6 weeks to complete their project. “I’m most proud that they delivered on their work,” said Yutzy, who sent emails and made phone calls to families, inviting them to the opening. She credits her relationship with the students for the event’s success. “We really are a family,” she said.
“Art for art’s sake is not enough,” said Yutzy, stressing the importance of inviting community members into the high school to view the artwork. She explained that the visual arts shape how we think, our passions, and belief in daily living. She says her students continue this legacy through their artwork.
“I’m proud of you all,” said Yutzy to her students as they event drew to a close.