Art Blossoms In Annual Spring AACPS Exhibit


Student artwork was in full bloom during May at Westfield Annapolis mall where shoppers had the chance to be inspired by the amazing artwork of more than 4,000 Anne Arundel County Public Schools students.

A project of AACPS’s visual arts office, the display included drawings, paintings, mixed media, and digital images from students in all grades and schools across the county.

“Exhibiting artwork is an essential part of the visual arts program experience,” Eleni Dykstra, AACPS’s coordinator of visual arts, said in a press release. “By displaying artwork, students are shown the value placed on their hard work and effort in the production of quality artwork.”

The Severna Park Voice caught up with five students who were thrilled to talk about their art.

Dori Thierry
Broadneck High School, Junior
Alcohol-based marker

“I love working with pencil for more realistic drawings because I feel I can bring more life and depth to the piece,” explained Dori Thierry. “I also enjoy using alcohol-based markers for more cartoonish drawings to make them pop.”

For this assignment, students were asked to choose a photo of themselves where proportions were skewed. Dori reasoned that self-portraits should be easy since we see ourselves every day, but the truth is that drawing a self-portrait is difficult.

“It requires lots of skill to capture the true essence of yourself,” she said. “Through this piece, I wanted to show the true me, the more relaxed version of myself, not just what I portray to people. I wanted to choose a picture that represented my goofier side.”

Choosing the right background was equally challenging. Ultimately, Dori chose a space setting.

“I don’t know why I chose space, but that’s the awesome thing about art: you don’t have to have reason,” she mused. “When I see my artwork displayed, I feel proud of myself.”

Aidan Darling
Severna Park High School, Junior
Permanent Marker

“I like how tangible and hands-on making art is,” Aidan Darling said. “When creating a piece, you can stand or move around and really get creative. Making art also has helped me to overthink less; sometimes it’s important to just start a piece and see where it goes.”

For this project, students were exploring micrography (using letters and numbers to create a design) and they chose their own subject. “The whole point was to work on conveying the realistic appearance of a person with an unusual technique,” Aidan said. “It pushed us to be more observant about the shadows in our reference pictures.”

Using only a fine-tip Sharpie, Aidan created Zendaya’s Rue Bennett character from the television show “Euphoria.” The portrait of the character is made completely with script lines from the show. The image Aidan chose is from a scene where Rue is facing the depths of her depression and other mental health struggles. Aidan wanted to convey the emotion in her face.

“Creating this piece took a long time. Since it was done using a fine-tip Sharpie, I built up a lot of layers to make the dark points stand out,” Aidan said. “The hardest part was just starting since it’s sort of scary to start right in with permanent marker. Sometimes, deciding where to start or what route to take is the hardest part of making a piece.”

Emma Hartman
Severna Park High School, Senior
“Matisse Study”

“My favorite part of creating art is that it is and always will be imperfect, yet that only makes it more beautiful,” said Emma Hartman. “In a world revolving around perfection, I find it comforting that art is created with the intention of imperfection.”

When she learned that her work was going to be part of the county-wide exhibit, she was thrilled.

“I did not expect it at all, but I was happy to share my artwork,” Emma said. “It’s really special to create art and have people see and appreciate it. I felt very fortunate.”

Emma is not afraid to use color in her work. She will attend Hofstra University on Long Island in the fall and is excited to be near the vibrant and creative New York City to explore her artistic goals.

“I really enjoy creating art with a lot of color. If it doesn’t have more than 20 colors in it, I probably did not paint it,” Emma exclaimed. “I really enjoy painting shoes and clothing, things that I can wear, kind of making myself feel like a canvas. I like when art is something you can use on a day-to-day basis.”

Alexa Saavedra

Magothy River Middle School, Sixth Grade
“Cubist Trumpet”
Mixed Media Collage

Alex Saavedra’s favorite medium to work with is clay, however, her “Cubist Trumpet” collage suggests her talents are diverse. First, she glued ripped pieces of music sheets to a poster paper. She then drew the trumpet and cut that up. From there, she glued the cut pieces of trumpet on the poster and drew lines across the edges, added tissue paper by putting watered-down paint to attach it, and then added color. Finally, she outlined and shaded the cut-up trumpet pieces. The result is a subtly beautiful collage.

“Normally, I don’t do many collages, but it was a cool experience to be able to make this,” said Alexa, whose artwork has been chosen in previous years for the annual AACPS exhibit. “I like making art about things I enjoy. For example, I sculpt stuff, like gnomes and strawberries, out of clay in my free time.”

Alexa likes that her art teacher continues to assign interesting projects the entire class enjoys.

Parker Gilligan

Jones Elementary School, First Grade
“Cherry Blossom”
Chalk Pastels

Before entering the first grade, Parker Gilligan used crayons at home to create art. But now she gets to use lots of different mediums to create one-of-a-kind art that her mother happily displays.

For this project, the class used chalk pastels, which are wonderful for young artists because they can create gorgeous layers of colors using just their fingers, and pastels don’t require water.

“Chalk pastels are good because I can do blending, and that is fun,” said the budding artist. “My favorite color is purple, but pink cherry blossoms are good, too.”

The class learned to draw a diagonal on the paper and build upon that line to draw the outline of cherry blossoms before using pastels and blending to come up with just the right colors.

Parker loved showing her artwork to her entire family, including her four siblings. Parker is one of a set of triplets.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here