Art for Art’s Sake: Student Paintings Compliment the Fall Play

David Lai, Staff Writer

As 7:00 pm dawned, spectators trickled into the Taylor Performing Arts Center courtyard to view the artworks on display. For three days, October 13th through 15th, 2022, faculty, students, friends, and family had the unique opportunity to engage with the creativity of the Studio Art Students, based on the fall play “An Enemy of the People”. 

Parent Song Zhang, the curator of the gallery, aimed to shed light on “what visual arts students can bring from their perspective”. Every year, the Bishop’s Visual Arts Committee (BVAC) not only makes the art gallery in tandem with the fall play but also creates chalk artwork for Bish Bowl. Head of BVAC, she describes it as a committee that “wants to cooperate with other departments or organizations”. 

The director of the fall play Dr. Kristen Tregar described the artwork as naturalistic and environmental. She said she was “struck by the use of contrast, and how it ties into the theme of the play and all the paintings have a clear contrast like brightness, complexity.”

When asked, viewers of the artworks shared a variety of answers, from colorful to devoted to ominous and intentional, even though the pieces were all inspired by the plot and themes of the play. Lara Korneychuk, Jan and Richard Hunter Chair in Theater, said, “I think that there is a lot of variety, everyone’s interpretation was a little different.” Bobby Chiu (‘26) also “loved the mix”. Parents Thad and Heather Withers praised the diversity of artwork. Pablo Bravo remarked that the “set near the ocean and that there is a lot of emotion and a lot of thought and introspection.” Ms. Korneychuk said that there will be some “conversation about the environment and tension with conflicts and water”. 

Parent Olga Monico expressed that there was some “darkness which is evident in some of these pieces” which is how Ellise Lee (‘24) described her painting of a candle. She said, “the candle brings light to the darkness”. When asked what she wanted people to take away from her painting, she said, “one voice bringing light to something counts and can have a big impact.” She continued, “We shouldn’t feel like because we each only have one voice, having one voice doesn’t matter, we shouldn’t stay quiet.”

 Other works were influenced by the environment. Calista Upton (‘26) said, about her painting, that there was “trash in the water to show that the water was polluted.” She continued that this leads to the broader message that “even though some things may be vibrant or colorful on the outside when you start to look closely, you can see that they are not.”  Reese Newlin (‘26) depicted a “forest and its reflection in black, polluted, bubbling water”. 

Francesca Vano (‘26) created something contradicting the play. Her drawing contains “symbolism of how water can be a calm and restful thing” while the play is “water being the root of all issues,” says Francesca.