Friday, February 16, 2018

CHCCS Student Artists Exhibit at FRANK Outreach Gallery

Ori and Valen Moore, brothers who attend Seawell and Rashkis Elementary Schools, are veteran prize-winners in past Reflections competitions, but they had never had the opportunity to greet the public and discuss their creations in a gallery space, until last week.
The annual PTA Reflections Art competition rose to a more visible and celebrated stage on Friday, February 9 when the FRANK Community Outreach Gallery hosted a reception and show of CHCCS artwork, at the same time the main FRANK Gallery welcomed hundreds of friends and patrons to its recently opened location at University Place. The inaugural event was a crowded and joyful success.
Each year, the district selects 30 works of student art to compete at the state level of the Reflections Program. This year’s winners came from eleven CHCCS schools, and they embraced all of the eligible art forms: dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts. Additionally, all students who entered Reflections this year were invited to display their art in the gallery, so there were over 100 pieces to enjoy. In the large gallery space, student artists, their friends and families mingled with community patrons.
The PTA Reflections Art Show brought families from schools throughout the district together and created a great community feeling,” said Lisa Kaylie, PTA Council President. “We are so grateful to the FRANK for allowing us to host the PTA Reflections Art Show in their new community space in University Place.  People enjoyed walking back and forth between the two FRANK spaces and everyone was so proud of the work of our student artists.  I heard one woman marvel, ‘Is this art from the students in our local CHCCS schools?’”  
Kaylie praised the intensive commitment from Carrboro Elementary PTA parent and visual artist Heather Lewis who organized the district Reflections contest for the first time. Most observers hope it won’t be her last. “I wanted to be involved to help promote the arts for the students,” Lewis said. “Once the entries from the schools started coming in, I was really touched by all who wanted to participate and thought it would be great to provide a platform to highlight the talent in the area.  I reached out to University Place, and that is where I learned about the opportunity with the FRANK. The show is really touching,” she added. “You can see the variety of interpretations on the theme ‘Within Reach,’ from a giraffe reaching for a beautifully colored red apple, to music compositions about the sea, and wonderfully choreographed dances. What has inspired these children has inspired me, and I hope the community feels the same.”
During the reception, the Moore brothers stood near their complex art pieces and quietly took questions and explained their process and sources of inspiration. Ori, a fifth-grade student at Seawell, had explored the experience of spending “a day on a river” with an original musical composition, photographs and a lyrical artist’s statement. Rashkis third-grader Valen used an original composition for saxophone, a poem and two photographs to capture his feelings about spending time on a boat in the ocean. The past two years, Ori has placed second in the state Reflections competitions, and in 2016, as a first-grader, Valen received a first place North Carolina award and went on to receive an honorable mention at the national level.
Another sibling pair, April and Kevin Guo from Morris Grove, also will move on to the state level. Their paintings hung side by side, similar in their compelling use of color and the sophistication of their concepts and execution, but very different in other ways.
Many of the art pieces drew a steady flow of admirers throughout the evening. A favored spot in the gallery was where tables were set up along a wall with laptops showing dance performances and original videos on continuous loop.
Near the front of the gallery hung the largest piece on display, a brilliantly detailed painting of animals, both extinct and endangered. Abby Welch, a student at Carrboro High School, talked patiently and graciously to a constant stream of viewers, from beginning to end of the reception. “Having my art up in the FRANK Gallery and getting to talk to so many people about it has been a truly unique and wonderful experience,” Welch said. “I was astonished by how many people were interested in my piece, and I enjoyed hearing their interpretations and questions. It was also amazing to have the opportunity to spread awareness of the challenges facing wildlife and the environment, which was the main focus of my art, and have it be seen by so many people. I am very thankful for the school, the PTA, the Reflections contest, and the FRANK Gallery for this incredible opportunity.” Welch won a third place award in film production at the state level in 2016.
Welch is one of six Carrboro High School students whose work will progress to the state level, an impressive feat, since only 30 CHCCS artists can claim that distinction. Art teacher Candacie Schrader said, “I cannot think of a better group of young artists to work with and be proud to call my students. My students absorb so much of what is taught to them, and the level of understanding and interpretation of everything expected is very well-rounded and mature in their visual representations.”             
FRANK Gallery allowed the show to hang from January 28 until the end of the reception on February 9, so the number of people who viewed the art numbered in the many hundreds. Jean LeCluyse, Artist Membership Chair of FRANK said, “We are delighted that the exhibits and the receptions went so well! Partnering with CHCCS is perfect for our inaugural event at the Michael & Laura Brader-Araje Community Outreach Gallery. As artists in the community we are thrilled to have the opportunity to encourage our young artists and creatives! We look forward to future collaborations. Thanks also to University Place for their support.”
“The Reflections art show was a tremendous event,” said Board Chair Rani Dasi. “We have amazingly talented students, and it is always a treat see their talents on display.”

View slide show from reception:

                                  CHCCS Reflections PTA Winners:

Carrboro Elementary:
Griffin Kalavsky
Juliette Elia
Lucy Safir
Tova Ohlrich
McDougle Elementary:
Katarina Rosario-Soto
Morris Grove:
Leah Johnson
Kevin Guo
April Guo
Becca Clarke
Ariya Jensen
Victoria Schmidt
Jovie Forrest
Marin Lissy
Valen Moore
Ori Moore

Estes Hills:
Mena Boggs
Nico Sye
Poppy DeAlmeida
Valentina Podolyanskaya

Frank Porter Graham:
Emmanuel Bastides
Michael Penaskovic

East Chapel Hill High:
Esther Bach
Yushentong Fang
Jabria Oliver
Carrboro High:
Riley Erwin
Amelia Mack
Luisa Marin
Wah Oo
Mia Parent
Abby Welch