Maria Sartori (NHS Faculty Coordinator), Sue Kaplan (Beth Shalom Garden Club), Allison Shapiro (Beth Shalom Garden Club), and Shireen Yalldallapoor (Former Faculty Coordinator) (left to right)
By Audrey Anderson
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
The Beth Shalom Garden Club presented their 12th annual Needham’s Art in Bloom 2020 on March 6, 7, and 8. A preview was shown at the Needham High School Lobby, the Needham Town Hall, and the Center at The Heights on Friday, March 6. On Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 8, the full exhibit was presented on two floors of the Needham Town Library. Five live art and five live floral demonstrations were offered on Saturday.
On Sunday, there was a buzz of excitement in the library as a large crowd of viewers made their way through the packed exhibit rooms. They paused to reflect on the 71 imaginative works by student artists in Needham High School’s art programs and the floral arrangements that were created to coordinate with the artwork.
The art pieces included drawings, paintings, photography, ceramics, crafts, digital art, animation, and commercial design. The vibrant, fresh floral arrangements by Beth Shalom Garden Club members, with the participation of the Kalmia and Needham Garden Clubs, wonderfully echoed the colors, shapes, and feeling of the art pieces as companion works.
Sue Kaplan and Allison Shapiro were this year’s co-chairs from the Beth Shalom Garden Club. Sue said the garden club was so happy to partner with Maria Sartori, faculty coordinator, and the Needham High School teachers and students to produce Needham’s Art in Bloom 2020. It is intended to give the students a wider audience for their art, and to allow them to see the reactions of the varied exhibit viewers outside of their classrooms. Sue feels that participating in the art program teaches students “life skills, such as being flexible, exercising their creativity, and seeing the world from others’ perspectives.” She also praises the multigenerational nature of the program.
There were so many pairings of art and flower pieces to view, and the talent of the artists and floral arrangers was admirable and surprising at every turn. Here are descriptions of some pairings that accomplished their aims particularly well:
Student Sophie D’Alleva created “Resurgence” in the Altered Book unit of Senior Studios. Students were asked to “recycle, rearrange, and reimagine the book as a unique visual form to communicate an idea.” Sophie burned parts of a book around the three-dimensional flower forms she created from the pages. Her truly remarkable piece celebrated themes of rebirth. The accompanying floral piece by Karen Gorton used pale roses to echo the flower shapes of the artwork and birch bark to resemble the black and white pages of the book.
Veronica Hulbert’s blind-contour self-portrait was created in mixed media in Drawing and Painting I. Her piece utilizes a limited palette of colors, green, yellow, white and black, in nontraditional ways to portray her own essence. The accompanying floral piece by Lori Markell uses a stone Asian planter to represent the artist’s face and cactus and succulent to represent her hair. As in the original artwork, fabric pieces are added in coordinating colors for a background.
Maya Breeders’ “POP Art” was created in Drawing and Painting I. The goal of the assignment was to incorporate a Pop Art style while working with color theory. Each box of the grid pattern has its own bright color scheme. The accompanying floral piece by Sylvia Golden and Vivian Levin echoes the grid pattern with multiple different-colored vases standing on a mirror, each holding a bright gerber daisy in a complementary color.
Throughout the exhibit, the students demonstrated their originality, talent, and hard work, and the floral designers their mastery of working with fragile, beautiful plant materials to echo concepts in the artworks. Needham’s Art in Bloom 2020 was a delightful opportunity to learn about art instruction in Needham High School, and to prompt visitors think and explore the themes represented.