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Tradition of student show returns to Hoxie

WESTERLY— Students at Westerly High School will show their skills this month at the Hoxie Gallery, part of the Westerly Public Library.

Work from four classses of art students, both beginners and advanced, will be on display at the gallery beginning with an opening reception on Wednesday.

Featuring students’ work at the gallery has been a tradition at the library in years past, but this will be the first student show since the library’s renovation, according to John Tedeschi, an art teacher at WHS. “We want to make it a yearly tradition again,” he said.

Two of Tedeschi’s drawing and painting classes have chosen pieces to submit for the gallery. Students from Judith McAndrew’s ceramics and pottery classes are also participating, with about 100 students involved in total, according to Tedeschi.

Tedeschi held one-on-one conferences with his students to help them select pieces to enter, focusing on those that show the skills and foundations they have developed. The work represents a range of media and ability levels.

“We see it as a great way for kids to feel a sense of pride in their work,” said Rachel Doyle, administrative services manager at the library, who worked with Tedeschi to coordinate the show. “We’re always looking to build on community relations, and this is a really great opportunity in a unique space for the students.”

In April, the gallery will feature work from Stonington High School students.

For senior Elizabeth Wienke, a student in Tedeschi’s advanced drawing and painting class, the exhibition provides a possible opportunity to bolster her application to Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, where she hopes to study illustration. She is submitting a sepia-toned charcoal portrait of her brother, a class assignment that she also included in the portfolio she sent to art school.

“I’m pretty proud of it,” she said. “It turned out a lot better than I thought it would. It’s actually probably the best one in my portfolio.”

Another aspiring art student, senior Austin Morrison, will send his piece to the Lyme Academy after showing it in the gallery. It is a pen and ink depiction of a dollar bill with a skull in the place of a presidential bust. The work was displayed at a gallery in Newport after winning an award with the Rhode Island Art Education Association.

“I always doodle on dollar bills,” Morrison said.

“I just really like art, and I’ve never really aspired to go into biology or anything like that.”

Junior student Katherine Loo said she was looking forward to showing her work, but also admitted that she felt “kind of awkward” having people look at it (“She’s very shy, said a friend and fellow art student, Taylor Kmetz). Loo is submitting a portrait of her brother, along with an eight-piece series of eyes on monochromatic colored backgrounds.

“I saw this music album cover with something similar that really highlighted the singer’s eyes,” Loo said. “Each of the colors corresponds with a personality trait.” The bright yellow piece she was currently working on, for example, represents intelligence and happiness.

Next door in the pottery room, Catherine Labriola, a student in Pottery 3 with McAndrew, put the finishing touches on the teapot she will submit to the gallery. The teapot is part of her senior project, which will also include a cup and tray set.

Tedeschi estimated that more than 200 items would be included in the display, which the students will set up on Monday.

Ceramics and pottery pieces will be erected on pedestals and tables, and the drawings and paintings are to be mounted with Velcro on the walls.

The show kicks off with an opening from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, with light refreshments and many students present to explain and present their work.

Sophomore Ben Laudone will also perform on the piano during the opening. The display will continue through March 1.

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