Eastern Senior High School (1700 E. Capitol St. NE) offers an International Baccalaureate program in the visual arts for juniors and seniors, under the direction of Jenna Lee. Visual Arts IB is a two-year course in which students select a concentration and create a series of artworks expressing their chosen theme or idea. They are responsible for researching and comparing artists across history and culture. The entire experience of growth and learning is documented in a process portfolio. The Eastern art studio is well equipped with a kiln and printing press. Students work in pastels, acrylic paint, watercolor, drawing, ceramics, linoleum block printing, screen-printing, papier-mâché and plaster sculpture. They also explore site-specific artwork, and mixed media.
In the first year, students develop a strong foundation, focusing on the artistic process, experimenting with a wide variety of media and becoming proficient in the techniques they will need to complete their Senior Projects. They also reflect deeply on what issues are most important to them and how to convey those ideas through art. In their second year, students work independently to complete individual portfolios, incorporating all they have learned into an expression of their own artistic vision. A selection of their work, together with their “curatorial statements” is currently on view in the Young Artists Gallery at Hill Center.
Two of the featured artists are Maia Garner and Miranda Garner. Maia’s intent is to “convey the power of culture in the black communities. Power in this case meaning having the ability to direct or influence.” She uses acrylic paint and incorporates found objects to create texture to “enhance and emphasize the significance of the word ‘power’.”
Miranda’s work reflects her growing pride in her culture “and wanting to spread that pride with other African Americans.” Although her body of work depicts only African Americans, she says “it’s for all races and cultures to see. I want every race and nationality to know that I am proud of my culture, my beauty as a African American woman, and that I am not oblivious to the struggles and issues that we have and/or are facing today.“
Ms. Lee hopes that visitors “will see the deep thinking, discipline, creativity, research and passion that is necessary to be a successful International Baccalaureate student “ and “not just the beauty in each students work, but also the diversity in thinking and personal discovery that went into each piece.” Make the time to experience this show and you will be well-rewarded.
The Young Artists Gallery is located on the ground floor at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. It is dedicated to showcasing the work of students in Capitol Hill Schools.