The Big Takeover

High-School Seniors exhibit their artwork at The Art Avenue gallery

Local high school seniors took over The Art Avenue Gallery in April, curating their own show and exhibiting over fifty pieces of artwork in several mediums from painting, drawing, design, sculpture and printmaking.

It was a elbow to elbow with family, friends and art lovers alike in support of the six Coronado students in the Baccalaureate Art Program making their debut into the art world.  It’s All About the Journey was on display for three days at The Art Avenue Gallery, a contemporary gallery in downtown El Paso.

“This is the first time I’ve invited a group of students into my gallery and allowed them to take over. I was a bit apprehensive at first but they were open to ideas and experienced alternative options to exhibit their artwork and eventually curated their own show,” said Kimberly Rene’ Vanecek, gallery owner. “I was impressed with their ability not just as artists, but how well they worked together.” And the experience the exhibit provided the students was impressive.  “I think it was an authentic experience for the students to see what it’s like to be a real artist and show in public rather than in a school setting,” said professor Terry Wright, for the International Baccalaureate Art Program.

Senior Anthony Adame, with the help of local sculptor Julio Sanchez De Alba, was able to work on some last minute adjustments in his life-sized piece created entirely of tape. “The form was falling down. It didn’t have enough support because I didn’t use durable tape,” said Adame.

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“Sanchez De Alba’s studio is next to my gallery and I invited him to view the works. He was immediately drawn to the two sculpted pieces, and noticed one piece was struggling to remain in an upright position,” said Vanecek.

“I want to find out how we can make this sculpture remain verticle,” said Sanchez de Alba.   Sanchez De Alba showed Adame how to support the piece with wire and additional tape.

Wright said the IB program has a set curriculum that is composed of three parts— a comparative study of three artists, a sketchbook/research book and lastly the exhibit of studio pieces. Each student was required to create 5-11 pieces of original artwork and was encouraged to explore a variety of topics in their work. “They pick most of their own assignments depending on what they are researching in their sketchbooks. Some pieces of their art are influenced by the artists that they wrote about in their comparative study of three artists,” said Wright.

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Jacqueline Bradley has been in the art program for three years and says her exhibition of watercolors, printmaking and drawings took here through many emotional moments, especially after the loss of her father. “The images here on the left are my earlier pieces and depict a childlike quality of happiness. Losing my dad was hard.  My favorite piece is an orange colored print of two hands together with a scripture from Psalm 18:2 ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.’  The image is of my hand in my dad’s,” said Bradley.

“Having their own show gives the students ownership and helps them to feel proud about their work. Having parents and peers come to the show helps them too,” said Wright.  When asked how the name for the exhibition came to fruition Wright easily replied, ”The name of the show came from my line I always say to them ‘It’s all about the journey’ in contrast to the Advanced Placement class that I also teach which is ‘It’s all about the end product.’”