Petropoulos Senior Art Show displays student talent

US Art Department celebrates thirteen seniors’ artwork in gallery
Petropoulos Senior Art Show displays student talent

Vibrant hues adorned the walls and pedestals of the Upper School (US) Gallery, including ceramic depictions of nature, photographs of family, films about social hierarchy, and more. The Petropoulos Senior Art Show was created in 1984 to commemorate the legacy of former Ceramics Teacher John B. Petropoulos.

It evolved into an annual tradition to honor students who have shown exceptional artistic dedication and talent over their years in the US.

“It is a celebration of an entire four years of a student’s dedication to the arts and investigation of themselves through the art,” US Arts Department Head Adam Howarth said. Mr. Howarth advocates for art education and encourages everyone to try out the different art classes the school offers, he said. “Art is a fantastic way to decompress and explore your own identity.”

Working with students, US Art Teacher and Gallery Coordinator Nicole Stone curated the collection of artworks and ensured the overall aesthetic and placement of the gallery. She sees the exhibition as a showcase of growth, where students’ artistic prowess blossoms and flourishes with each passing year, she said.

“One of the most enriching aspects of the exhibition lies in delving into the meaning behind their work and what motivated them to make such pieces,” she said. “Taking advantage of this opportunity to see other students who have gone deeply into their art studies is a real source of inspiration.”

For Maddie Song ’24, the exhibition marks the end of her career in US ceramics. Her current work features three distinct ceramic sets, each reflecting her deep admiration for nature, she said. “The class is very much student-directed, so the students have a lot of freedom with what we want to do, and [we can] explore things creatively.”

Ceramics is not just a class but a sanctuary, Maddie said.

“I was able to connect with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise talked to. It’s also a space to decompress.”

Mika Higgins ’24, whose photographs are featured in the gallery, is appreciative of the creative approach taken by US Photography Teacher Andrew Warren, she said.

“He gives the class a lot of freedom to explore what we’re interested in.”

Mika’s portfolio blends both fi lm and digital photography. Among her favorites is a piece showing her family’s perspective as they gave skyward, captured from an unconventional angle, she said.

Avi Nagin ’24 immersed himself in the art of filmmaking, creating five distinct film projects over the course of his high school journey. His third and favorite piece is a bit experimental and explores his relationship with those struggling with financial security in his hometown, Cambridge, Avi said.

“I played around with forward and reverse movement to show a contrast between the social status of the people of Cambridge.”

Avi said he is grateful for the opportunity to highlight student art.

“It’s nice that this school provides an immersive environment [for art]. I enjoy showcasing my work while looking at others as well.”

As he prepares to embark on new adventures next year, Avi advises younger students to pursue what speaks to them. “You don’t have to be beholden to the traditional course load. You can explore. It is important to express yourself.”

Keira Hagerty ’24 has deep gratitude for the Senior Petropoulos Art Show because it provides a platform to showcase her years of dedication to photography, she said.

“I’ve been doing photography for so long, and it’s nice to be recognized for it,” Keira said.

For the exhibition, Keira curated six landscape photographs, each capturing the beauty and serenity of nature. Among her most cherished memories in photography is the camaraderie she shares with her friend and fellow photography student Mika, she said.

Andre Jiang’s ’24 journey into into architecture has been nothing short of transformative, he said.

“It has enabled me to take the world around me and abstract it into something completely different.”

For one of his pieces, Andre deconstructed “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” and transformed it into a sculptural model. Another piece used origami folding patterns: he constructed a tunnel with strands spiraling on the inside.

“It was meant to embody my creative process,” he said. “The strands are supposed to represent ideas, all merging together at the end of the tunnel. There’s a strand that sticks out of the tunnel and goes back in to represent thinking outside of the box.”

Andre is honored to have his work displayed in the gallery, he said.

“When I was putting my portfolio together, it was a nice full circle moment, seeing how far I’ve come,” he said. “I’m very grateful that I was chosen. I think it’s a great way to put my work out there.”

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