CSUN’s 22nd Annual High School Invitational


Melanie Curiel and her mother Melinda beside her work at the Main Art Gallery on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Photo credit: Sean Hanafi

Sean Hanafi

CSUN partnered up with over 30 San Fernando Valley high schools for the 22nd Annual High School Invitational, with artworks ranging from all sorts of different mediums. The exhibition, which runs from Jan. 7 to 19, takes place at Main Art Gallery and extends to the West Gallery.

The gallery holds unique works including some with a shared theme. A common theme is sugar skulls, for Day of the Dead, from Northridge Academy. Another theme is endangered species, as covered by the students and faculty of Granada Hills Charter. The endangered species works were all done on scratchboard, with subjects ranging from the Florida Panther to the Giant Panda.

Melanie Curiel, 16, worked on her piece for about a month and a half. She’s had a relationship with art since she was about three years old.

“I was really excited that my piece made it into the gallery,” said Curiel. “I had no idea until my teacher handed me the flyer and told me she entered me.”

Curiel’s piece is a sugar skull with koi fish, a hummingbird and flowers. The youngest of four brothers, the first person she told about her achievement was her mother, Melinda Curiel, although her brothers were also equally thrilled.

Melinda remembered her daughter made drawings as gifts for one of her brothers, specifically an intricate drawing of all the evil Disney princesses. Although Melanie is more interested in pursuing a field where she is able to work with animals, the gallery show still inspired her to branch out into different styles.

“We had to do something with shoes, and I wanted to do something with more detail around it,” said Erica Hernandez, 16, a student from Sylmar Charter High School.

Erica Hernandez with her work at the Main Art Gallery on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Photo credit: Sean Hanafi

Detail is something her piece is definitely not lacking. With linework surrounding the reflection of the shoes she’s drawn in pencils, her piece is covered in a variety of patterns. Hernandez has been drawing since she was around eight years old. Her teachers motivated and pushed her to move forward in art and now.

“I really want to go to an art school though because I want to be surrounded by people with the same passion and see what everyone else is doing and what they’re into as well,” said Hernandez.