CSUN art gallery hosts young artists in 17th Annual High School Invitational

Students observe artwork at the 17th Annual High School Invitational in CSUN’s Main Gallery. The show features the work of local high school students. David Hawkins / Photo Editor

The Main Gallery in the California State University Northridge (CSUN) art department is buzzing with the work of young local artists for the 17th Annual High School Invitational art exhibit.

Since 1997, high school teachers from around the San Fernando Valley have been asked to recommend up to six students to display one piece of recent art for the show.

“They, of course, enjoy seeing their work up on the walls of an established gallery,” said Kevin O’Malley, who teaches photography and video at Harvard-Westlake. “I think their biggest kick is seeing what other students in the area and age group are doing.”

Almost 40 high schools, both private and public, participated this year.

Most works in the show are fine art, but students can also submit pieces of new media like videos, and even jewelry design.

Artists in the show represent a wide range of ages and skill levels. The only requirement is that they be selected by a staff member.

This year the gallery features a new perk for participants.

“This is the first time art alums and professors will be inviting high school students for a portfolio review during the closing reception,” said Michelle Giacopuzzi, office manager and exhibitions coordinator for the gallery.

Giacopuzzi has been involved with the exhibit for the last 14 years. She sees it as a great opportunity to introduce potential students to CSUN.

“(The show is) not officially (a recruitment effort), but we do encourage high school students to visit CSUN art galleries and learn what is offered here on campus,” Giacopuzzi said.

Some schools involved in this year’s show have participated since the beginning.

“The high school exhibition is a yearly tradition with us and we look forward to it each December,” O’Malley said.

The invitational was originally a mural competition started by former art department chair Joe Lewis. It slowly grew into the exhibit it is today.

Accompanying the invitational exhibit is the 5th Annual High School Teachers Art Exhibition in the West Gallery.

Both shows run until Feb. 1, with a closing reception in the Main Gallery on Jan. 31.