Annual AP/IB Senior Art Show features stunning pieces

Multicolor clouds and glittering black curtains frame the gallery, lit in purples and blues. A row of flats line Main Street, covered in elaborate and diverse artwork and interspersed with handmade ballgowns and video projectors. Richard Montgomery’s annual AP/IB Senior Art Show is in full swing for 2020. 

At the entrance to the gallery, the curator’s statement announces the theme of this year’s show: The Allure of the Unknown. “A lot of our art this year had very fantastical elements and wasn’t super realistic. We wanted to draw people in, like an ominous curiosity,” senior Valerie Wang, an IB art student and curator for the show, said. Within this broader theme, each student chose their own personal theme, ranging from “Different Worlds” or “Duality of Loss,” to broader themes like “Discovery.” 

Curators organize the students’ work, which is split between the gallery and the student-designed flats. “Everyone has such different works, but we wanted to arrange it in a way that was cohesive and aesthetic but you could individually see each person’s work,” Wang said. Senior Ellie Moore, an AP student and curator, said, “We spent so many hours in there rearranging all the different art and after that I just don’t want to look at the art anymore.”

The gallery contains a huge variety of different aesthetics and art forms, organized by color and style to create a unified exhibit. The decorations emphasize the overarching theme, with magical clouds hanging from the ceiling and colored lighting. The curators, working alongside the design committee, displayed an impressive number of unique art pieces in the gallery.

Meanwhile, the flat display boards along Main Street represent the artist’s own vision. They range from a wall of larger-than-life pop-art portraits to a display of handmade streetwear, and even to an interactive drawing inviting viewers to draw on it. “Arranging my flat and seeing the way everything looks together and the experience I could create for the viewer, that was my favorite part,” senior Lydia Wei, an IB art student, said. Senior Logan Turner-Mannix, another IB art student, added, “The theme is so important, you can’t just put random pieces together, they need to collectively tell a story.” 

According to students, the show had its stressful moments. Coordination and timing played a big role. Wang said, “It’s hard to rush art, but with stuff like this, there is a deadline.” She added, “I wish we had started earlier.”

The preparation of the show helped students find a sense of community. Moore said, “I think my favorite part was staying late with everyone, just being in the environment where everyone is playing music and we’re all painting, or framing stuff, or working on our flats.”  

Apart from the community that forms, the opportunity for such an exhibition is relatively unique for high school students. “To have your theme on the flat, it’s a very interesting way to conceptualize a very abstract idea, to see the tangible material results that came from some concept,” said Wei. Wang added, “It’s a really cool way to see your art, even if it’s just a hobby, come together in this way.”