National Art Honor Society unveils gallery of school artwork (December 2017)

As part of a series of exhibitions, the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) aims to open the first gallery of the year to showcase student and staff artwork for the school’s viewing December 5.

Although the Bengal Gallery has been open periodically in years past, its stretch was usually limited to two nights per year: a staff show in the fall and a showcase of the works of AP art students during the Arts and Humanities festival in the spring. NAHS hopes to expand the gallery’s course this year by running three to four exhibitions until the last months of school, each one lasting approximately two months and taking place in its own room, D151.

Part of the motivation to open the Bengal Gallery so early stems from a growing lack of interest in art from the student body, as some student artists note. “I wanted to be part of making Blake feel like an arts school again,” says gallery advertising coordinator and junior Audrey Rapp.

In their effort to reinvigorate the school’s passion for art, NAHS plans on broadening the gallery’s accessibility to all. Once open, the exhibitions will be available for students and faculty to visit during lunch periods. “We want [the gallery] to be more of a place for students to go and feel that they are a part of the signature program and art community here,” says ceramics teacher Anne Michael. Meanwhile, the general public will also have their opportunity to view the shows during events significant to Blake, such as plays, concerts, or award ceremonies.

Based on the theme of “What is Art”, the gallery’s first exhibition encourages artists of all types to submit their work. From traditional modes of art, like painting or sculpting, to more unconventional mediums like makeup or crocheting, any product of creativity can find a home within the Bengal Gallery. As opposed to only those who are registered in art classes, all students and staff are invited to participate and display their artistic creations.

While some may participate in the gallery simply for fun, for others, the gallery provides helpful experiences to anyone anticipating to pursue art as a career.  “Students who are interested in pursuing art later on in their life get to [know] what it’s like to be featured in a gallery… and go through the process of submitting your artwork,” says curator and junior Nicolas Baker.

For gallery contributors, being able to have their work featured means opening up their talents to spectators for the first time. “I’d like to have a lot of people see my [work] because I keep my art to myself mostly, so having an audience for once would be cool,” says junior Raina Ibrahim.