More than 250 students in more than 40 public and private high schools in the San Fernando Valley will participate in the CSUN art gallery’s 10th Annual High School Invitational on Friday.
The students will provide a wide range of works that include painting, drawing, sculptures, photography, glass, ceramics and graphic design, as well as displays done on video and DVD.
Participation in the event has increased and gotten more popular every year, according to Louise Lewis, the gallery director.
“When we first started doing this event, there were about 28 to 30 schools participating, and now we have 42 and the number increases every year,” she said.
“There is clearly such a widespread citywide interest and all other outlying areas that we have had to tell schools to look to other Cal State campuses,” Lewis said.
Some of the students produced a form of artwork known as mixed media.
“Mixed media is a single piece of work that includes a variety of things such as sculpture, paint, papier mache, clay, beads (and) shells, and (the art) can be three-dimensional,” said Michelle Giacopuzzi, the exhibition’s coordinator.
One particularly unique artwork display of mixed media was a canvas collage that incorporated film strips, artificial flowers, doll clothing and pearls.
The artwork selections are made by the high school art teachers and are limited to six works per school and one per student, Lewis said.
“A lot of the art teachers attended CSUN (for) their master’s degree, so I recognize many of them when they participate with their students,” said Jim Sweeters, the gallery’s art installer.
The gallery’s high school invitational has evolved in the decade since its first show.
“The very first year was an open competition for murals when there were trailers on campus and about 13 schools were competing,” Lewis said.
The artwork displayed every year seems to be a reflection of the times and that is what differentiates the art themes from year to year.
“There were a lot of somber and depressing themes that were displayed at the event we put on right after 9/11,” Lewis said.
The entire display at the art gallery is organized and assembled professionally with glass hung over the work with a label next to it. The work also receives a full exhibition run of about five weeks.
“The quality just gets better every year and it has become such a desirable show to be in,” Lewis said.
Stunning displays of three-dimensional work upon the walls of the gallery are eye catching. One artist placed barbed wire around a canvas with a colorfully painted mask on it. A similarly striking piece depicted a laundry mat with a three-dimensional woman carrying a basket filled with clothing glued on to the canvas using various colors of actual cloth.
“The diversity of the pieces produced is encouraging because it is indicative of great work in the medium as well as the subject matter,” Lewis said.
A distinct feature of the art gallery’s high school invitational is the collective recognition afforded to all the participants.
“Back when we used to distribute awards for good artwork, those that did not receive an award took it as a criticism of their personal creativity,” Lewis said.
“Now we don’t give out awards, rather we hand out certificates of participation because we wish to encourage all students and their creativity since this event serves mainly to provide young students exposure to the world of art.”
The high school invitational is among the most highly attended events at the art gallery where students can enjoy original artwork, music and refreshments. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 13 and is free and open to the public.