Murals, clay pieces, papier-mâché animals, abstract art, surrealist- style paintings among many other masterpieces filled the Western Wayne High School gym this past Saturday, May 13, for the annual Western Wayne Art Exhibit that was titled this year: The American Frontier: Venture Westward to a Cultural Expression of Life.
Students in grades 9 through 12 displayed various pieces of art work that they had worked on in class throughout the year that were created and judged in the following categories: acrylic painting, watercolor painting, graphite pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, pastel (chalk/ oil), pen & ink, mixed media, ceramic sculpture, ceramic vessel, papier-mâché sculpture, and miscellaneous.
Also, ten seniors chose to exhibit portfolios of their work for the show. These seniors included: Nick Antidormi, Skyler Booths, Caitlin Henneforth, Jocilyn Hill, Nascha Lamphere, Molly Nagle, Maggie Podunajec, Makayla Rose, Peter Tomasetti, and Olivia Troiano.
Their displays represented an accumulation of up to four years of artwork. The Western Wayne Art Department judged all portfolios in the categories of exemplary artwork and display.
The winners were as follows: Nick Antidormi, first place for display, third play for artwork; Skyler Booths, third place for display, honorable mention for artwork; Jocilyn Hill, fourth place for artwork, honorable mention for display; Molly Nagle; fourth place for display; Makayla Rose, first place for artwork; Olivia Troiano, second place for display, second place for artwork.
The following advanced fashion design students, who were also seniors, had textile displays featured in the art show.
These students included: Zoey Rosensweet, Gina Infante, Madison Kornutiak, and Emily Shaffer.
Their displays highlighted many of the pieces they had created in fashion design and sewing classes.
One of the featured senior students with a textile display, Zoe, explained how her part of the art show had a Bohemian style.
She enjoys this style and had six pieces of clothing that she designed as part of her displayed collection. Her favorite being a pair of green wide-leg pants that she thought fit really well.
Zoey made her presentation feel very much like her personal style by adding in rugs and other decorations from her bedroom at home. She plans to make fashion design a part of her future by minoring in fashion marketing relations at Duquesne University this fall.
“I love to create fashion that expresses my personality,” Zoey, who plans to major in pharmacy, said.
Fellow senior Skyler also plans to major in pharmacy next year at Wingate University, North Carolina, on a full scholarship. Just like Zoey, Skyler is as focused on her academic work as she is on her work in the arts.
The theme of Skyler’s senior portfolio was “Night at the Movies.”
She included many pieces that creatively matched this theme like a picture of a man in sunglasses and her favorite piece called “Open Happiness” in which she added detail to Coca-Cola bottles using colored pencils to make the piece more realistic.
“The coke piece inspired my ‘Night at the Movies’ theme,” she explained.
Senior Caitlin agrees that colored pencil is a medium that has helped her to create some of her favorite pieces at Western Wayne.
Caitlin called her senior portfolio display “The Bistro.” She gave her art space the feel of a wine vineyard decorating it with white lights and including a wooden table for her guest book.
She explained that her favorite piece was a colored pencil drawing that fit the vineyard theme. She loves to work with this medium.
“It helps me to blend different colors to get the color I want it to be,” Caitlin, who will attend Misericordia University in the fall on a track and field scholarship, said. “This is a hobby I picked up because of art classes I took in school and it helps me to relax.”
Senior Olivia also finds the time she spends working on art relaxes her and eases her stress.
Olivia themed her senior portfolio the “Creative Process” and explained how she set it up to look like an art exhibit. She arranged all of her pieces carefully on the wall of her space and in the center of it to give her presentation the feel of a professional art studio.
Near the center of her display, she placed her favorite mixed- media pieced entitled “Disclosure.” The picture was of a young woman done in black and white peeking out from a red curtain made of fabric perhaps thinking about her future.
Olivia looks forward to her future studies at La Salle University in Philadelphia this fall to major in environmental studies.
“I love public speaking and hope to be an advocate for the environment one day,” she said. She also hopes she can find creative ways to make art a part of her future career as well.
First place winner for his senior portfolio art display, Nick believes that his artist skills will help him in his future career as an electrician contractor.
“Careers in construction often require special creative skills,” Nick explained.
Nick’s senior portfolio truly proves how highly imaginative he is. He named his display an “Abandoned Christmas Warehouse.”
Nick, whose birthday just happens to be on December 25, has a large collection of Christmas items. Recently he did some collecting in Syracuse, New York, at an old municipal building where they were clearing out holiday decorations from the 1960s. He used one of these pieces that had swirling green and red colors in it for his portfolio.
He said he chose this particular canvas because it matched his other pieces so well especially the many holiday-themed blow molds he included from his personal collection of about 240 of them at home.
Nick also enjoys nautical-themed art and included pieces of this nature that most creatively matched his Christmas theme. For example, his favorite piece is a porcelain octopus that took him four months to make because of the challenges of his working with so fragile of a material.
Like Nick, senior Maggie enjoyed the challenges of working with ceramic materials during her years in Western Wayne art classes. Her portfolio project had the theme of “Dance” with a focus on ballet, her favorite style.
The piece she considered the most special was a pair of point shoes she created of ceramic clay because of the attention to detail she had to use when making them.
All of the artwork in Maggie’s collection fit her theme well. She included a picture drawn of Meryl Streep who connects to dance because of the part she played in Mama Mia, a Native American picture to represent spirit dance and even a piece representing The Rocky Horror Picture Show to connect to that iconic film’s unique dance style among many other pieces.
Maggie, who plans to attend Penn State Worthington in the fall to study psychology, has enjoyed working in a variety of art forms in high school.
At the end of April she had her final performance as Mae Peterson in the school’s production of Bye Bye Birdie where she also served as student director and a lead dancer.
“I am passionate about both dance and art,” she explained. “With art you take your feelings from the inside and put them on the outside on some type of canvas whereas with dance your body then becomes the art form through its movements.”
Fellow senior Makayla, who won first place for artwork, hopes to use the art skills she developed at Western Wayne to help others in healing their bodies in her future career as a nurse.
She will attend the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County to major in nursing.
“I think that doing art with patients will help me to calm them down since art relaxes me so much,” Makayla explained.
Makayla’s display was themed “Neon Lights”. All of her pieces utilized light in some way and she had brightly colored lights hanging in her presentation space. She felt particularly proud of her mural that showed neon lights in it with a less-detailed, streaky yet uniquely beautiful look to it.
Makayla even included a piece in her collection that both connected to her theme and future career called “Circuit” which was a drawing of the human anatomy.
Senior Peter also wishes to start his journey eventually to work in the medical field this fall when he will attend Penn State University main campus to study psychology. He aspires to be a child psychologist.
Peter’s senior portfolio featured many pieces that were of different animals. Peter has always enjoyed art as a hobby and felt he learned about using many different art mediums in his Western Wayne art classes.
“I enjoyed my time in art classes here learning about many different styles of art from my teachers and hope to continue to pursue art as a hobby,” he said.
Like Peter, senior Molly wishes to continue art as a hobby after she graduates. Molly also enjoys reading in her free time and decided during her freshman year that she would focus her portfolio of work at Western Wayne around the epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
She called her display “Middle Earth.” The focal point of her extremely unique display was a large mural which looked like the famous “Last Supper” painting but featured Lord of the Rings characters with Bilbo as the center of attention with all of his followers around him.
Molly said she felt her use of characters in the mural was fitting.
“It makes sense because in the books Bilbo has a number of men relying on him to take them back to their homeland,” she explained.
Molly included artwork that focused on a number of other things she enjoys like different animals and a unique picture of “The Godfather,” Marlon Brando.
Just like Molly senior Nascha focused her senior portfolio on a topic that is close to her heart.
She titled her presentation “The Symptoms of Stress.” Nascha researched these symptoms and created pieces to represent each of them. For example, she made pieces representative of agitation, anger, fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, anxiety, depression, etc.
Her favorite piece represented social anxiety and was a drawing of a girl isolated from others sitting on a swing. The hauntingly beautiful picture truly captured the sad feeling of isolation a person under stress sometimes feels.
Nascha plans to study business with a minor in art at Keystone College. She explained her dream job would be to work as a librarian. She feels a strong connection between her reading and her artwork.
“When I read it creates a vision in my head of the story, this connects to when I create art and visualize a piece before making it,” Nascha explained.
Senior Jocilyn created a senior display similar to Nascha’s in the respect that it also contained a number of creatively inspired pieces, many of them in the surrealist style.
Jocilyn’s collection entitled “Insanity” was based off the work of surrealist artist Naoto Hattori who Jocilyn looks to for inspiration.
One of her favorite pieces in her collection is a charcoal and watercolor piece of an alien-type person in the surrealist style.
Jocilyn explained why this is her favorite style.
“I like this style because it’s a more uniform way to do abstract art that adds elements but still allows your pieces to look like something,” she said.
Art teacher Justin Hayden is proud of the work of all of his students this year in the high school and wishes all of his seniors success in the future.
“I hope all of the seniors take what they learned about art in their time at Western Wayne and use that knowledge to help them become even more successful than they are now in their future career paths,” Hayden said.