Art is in many ways, the face of a culture. The art of a community is, for the most part, how that group of people express themselves. Grayslake Central is by no means an exception to this, with GCHS students expressing themselves and their school’s feeling through theater, band, and in the case of those participating in this year’s virtual art show, drawing and sculpture. This year those in Central’s art program have been faced with a difficult challenge, that being how to host their annual art show?
One of the many working to keep our art program going is art teacher Jeff Fujiu. Fujiu is working tirelessly to aid in the organizing and management of this year’s art show, which will be posted on Monday, May 24.
“We can’t really have people gather inside… it was a little bit challenging in the beginning, when we were figuring out how it was we wanted to present it all, and we tried out a ton of websites and blogs and Instagrams, and we finally decided we were overthinking it, and we picked just a Google Slide presentation. We knew everyone could just open that up, plus we could add as many as we need, so that became the solution. From there, it was just a matter of organizing things, and making sure it can go out to people,“ said Fujiu.
COVID-19 hasn’t only made showing art off more complicated. The creation of art has also become somewhat difficult due to social distancing, but students and teachers where once again able to overcome these problems
“It’s certainly challenging with remote, especially being away from the art rooms and studios and not having access to all of our supplies. But with digital art, it’s a little easier, as it’s possible over the computer. So, it certainly is tough when it is not right there to help, support and give feedback in the moment can be really challenging. Despite all that though, I will say that we’ve all been so impressed with the high quality of all the things we’ve seen,” said Fujiu.
Fujiu isn’t the only staff member working to prepare for the show. Brian Divis, another art teacher, is also putting in the hours to make sure we can all see the art his students have poured hours of work into.
Divis has also run into problems with teaching art in a virtual setting, due to the inability to meet with students as frequently as he’d like to.
“My role has changed from being more of a hands on inspirational mentor to that of a technology coordinator, unfortunately. There are a few students that are very productive, they’re open to sending their daily progress, so that we can give them daily feedback, or weekly feedback. But for the most part, a lot of the students are working very independently at home, and I don’t get to give a lot of feedback on their work until it’s finished sometimes. So my role has definitely changed from a daily mentor to someone who’s managing the virtual platform and making sure it’s all running as smoothly as possible,“ said Divis.
Divis believes that students should make an effort to attend the virtual show this year, even with it’s unconventional nature.
“Even if you don’t necessarily understand all of the art you’re looking at, if you’re looking at a show with this level of variety, I think everybody can always find at least a piece of art they connect with, even if you don’t necessarily know why or can explain the connection you have to it. Hopefully it will be inspiring to our younger, or even older students who get excited to try something new in our art classes,” said Divis.
A program like this wouldn’t be able to function without student involvement. In the case of this year’s art show, there’s plenty. One of those students involved in this year’s show is sophomore Valerie Powell. Powell, like many GCHS artists, thinks more students should attend the show, even in its virtual format.
“I think it can be really inspirational to see the art program, certainly a lot of people worked on it. The only people who are seeing it are our art teachers, and we do put a lot of work into these pieces, so it’d be really nice for some other people to see our work,” said Powell.