(QR Code to access show at end of article)
For the past 25 years or so, community members have attended student art shows at Harwood Union High School at the end of each semester. Family members and friends got to see what their students had been working on over the course of the semester and students got to share their work with the community. COVID-19 changed that.
After nearly two years without in-person student art shows, Harwood’s art department did what artists do -- it got creative. As of last Friday, the department made available a QR code that can be scanned to access student work across a variety of media. “We as a department talked about the best way to get student artwork into the community,” Harwood arts teacher Nathaniel Furlong said. “A QR code seemed like the best option at this point.”
The images include photography, digital art, ceramics, paintings and drawings from students taking art classes at Harwood. More than 150 students shared their work in the digital art show. Department chair Wendy Rand said, while “live [shows] is amazing, this way it’s out in the community and people who wouldn’t come to a live show” can access student artwork. Furlong added that students are excited about being able to share their work with family and friends out of state. The QR code will be shown in school so other students can see their peers’ work.
“Art is so important right now,” Furlong said. He teaches graphic design, photography and digital arts at Harwood. “It’s a way to step away from COVID and find something creative. Any time we can talk about arts in the community” is a positive thing, he said. “Having a hands-on class is really helpful” for students, said Krista Verriotto, who teaches Art I, Art II and individualized art at Harwood.
Last semester, her students worked on creating personal logos, some of which can be found in the show, drawing paper sculptures, color theory, surrealist eye projects, block printing and more. While her courses remained similar during the pandemic, the way the school is sharing art with the whole community has changed.
Furlong’s digital arts students took easily to the new format. “It’s pretty natural for them,” he said. All arts students at Harwood now use digital portfolios to document their work, so they were familiar with the process. Rand, who teaches ceramics, said, “It’s definitely a challenge to take good photos,” though it’s something she encourages her students to do regularly.
Furlong added that the digital art show will be available forever, so students can look back on their or their friends’ work for years to come.