Annual High School Art Invitational: CSUN’s Main Art Gallery features art work from surrounding schools

The 13th Annual High School Invitational is currently being exhibited in CSUN's main gallery. The featured works of students from 58 San Fernando Valley high schools are in several mediums including painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media.

CSUN’s Art Gallery is holding its 13th Annual High School Invitational.

The event, which is being held in the Main Gallery, began on January 12 and will continue through January 30.

“There are 39 schools who submitted their work this year,” Jim Sweeters said, interim director of CSUN’s Art Gallery. “There are over 200 works in the gallery right now.”

The idea to introduce high school students’ artwork in to CSUN’s Art Gallery was from former Art Gallery Director Louise Lewis, said Exhibitions Coordinator Michelle Giacopuzzi.

The students are not necessarily all seniors, the event is open to all high school students, however it is up to the art teachers to choose which pieces will participate in the show, said Sweeters.

Art teachers from across the San Fernando Valley choose 6 works from their school to be submitted into the show, said Sweeters. The pieces include paintings, sculptures and video.

Each piece is grouped with its own school and each piece has a label with the student’s name, the school they attend, and the kind of art used.

For example, Yoceli Moran, a student from Stoney Point High School, whose work is on display used mixed media to make her masks. One is gold with colorful beads that are placed along the eye area and the other is black with a red flower on the side of the right eye and covers only the eyes.

Also on display is Harvard Westlake student Alan Sneider’s piece called “Linear Transparency.” It is a sculpture that consists of pieces of glass arranged vertically and looks like each is stuck to one another.

Teachers’ work is on display in a smaller room and is organized in the same way as students’ work. Teachers’ pieces also range from paintings and sketches to ceramic sculptures.

Giacopuzzi, who has been involved with the event for the past 10 years, said the invitation to participate in the event is usually sent around August or September to allow teachers and students enough time to prepare their work.

Sweeters said the closing reception will be held on January 27.

“There’s usually around 600 guests, food, sometimes there is even music outside,” Sweeters said.

But this is not the only day the gallery is busy. Visitors to the gallery not only include the CSUN community but also high school students participating in the invitational who stop by with their families.

“North Point even arranges tours to come into the gallery,” Sweeters said.

Jessica Rivas, 23, was visiting the gallery with a CSUN friend for the first time and was looking at student and teachers artwork.

“I think these pieces are really cool,” Rivas said. “I can’t believe how talented some of these high school students are, and I think it’s cool of CSUN to even offer this event to high schools because I think it’s a good experience for the students who want to pursue a career in art.”