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District Art Show celebrates student work

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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Walpole Public Library patrons may have noticed the wide variety of beautiful artwork during their last visit to the building. With dozens of student-created pieces from each one of Walpole’s public schools on display, members of the community have been able to witness first hand the amazing work that the town’s students do.

“I think it’s something that people look forward to every year,” said Walpole High’s drawing and painting instructor, Willa McKee, at the District Art Show at the library on May 1. “It really showcases the breadth of our art program in the district, because it goes from kindergarten through twelfth grade.”

One of the many students featured was third grader Cate Bonnin from Fisher School. She stood in front of her piece with her family, discussing how she and her classmates created their self-portraits. On the left side was a photograph of Bonnin playing dodgeball in gym class, and on the right side was her perfectly proportioned drawing of the photo.

“We did several studies and we had students get up and do action poses,” said Joanne Hirschfeld, Fisher School’s art teacher. “I think I even got up and posed for one of the classes. This is a new project where we’re integrating [physical education] because they’re learning various throwing techniques, and then what ended up happening was that it culminated in taking those photographs and drawing from the photographs.”

Hirschfeld was particularly impressed by Bonnin’s spatial awareness in her drawing, and also by the detail she put into the interior of the room.

With Bonnin’s gesture drawing skills already very sophisticated for third grade, it was clear that these abilities would only continue to develop through Walpole Public Schools’ art programs.

“Hopefully what you see is a progression from elementary through the middle and through the secondary,” Hirschfeld said, grinning. “People have said that, and it makes my day when I hear that.”

Bird Middle School sixth grader Caroline Donnolly attended the reception at the library and visited her artwork on display. Her work has been featured at the library every year, but nevertheless, Donnolly was thrilled to see her piece at the library.

She had created a stamp of a poodle and used various colored ink to create the piece.

Donnolly also enjoyed the opportunity to see other students’ artwork, and to see what projects would be coming in the next few years.

“I like seeing what we might be doing next year and what other grades are working on in different schools and the different methods that art teachers use,” she said.

In the Community Room, Advanced Placement (AP) art students at Walpole High displayed their work, which is a new addition to the District Art Show. In previous years, the AP students did not have a show to exhibit their pieces at the end of the year. With their work incorporated into the show, the AP students could have a separate space in the library for their art to be appreciated.

“It’s always something that the kids love, no matter what age they are,” McKee said. “They all feel honored. It’s hard to choose work because we have a limited amount of space, so we try to highlight our curriculum and show a range of things that we do.”

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