The Higher Education Center in Virginia Beach is generating a lot of buzz around the local educational and artistic communities by providing a space for young art students in the area to present their talents.
Senior art students from the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School are currently showcasing their latest accomplishments at the Higher Education Center. This is the first time that the academy has worked in partnership with Old Dominion, and as Erin Richburg said, it is a success for everyone involved.
The Senior Showcase opened on Jan.18 and will be on view through Feb. 23. There are 14 Salem High School students that earned the opportunity to exhibit their work, which has collectively been titled “Evolution.” There are a variety of themes and materials used, from paper to traditional drawings.
“[The students] have watched their artwork and themselves evolve together through these four intense years of study,” explained Richburg as the meaning behind the title of the exhibition. Richburg is the students’ teacher and co-coordinator if the showcase. She collaborated with Patti Edward from the ODU Visual Arts Department.
“This is my first event at the Higher Education Center,” said Richburg. The reception was the same night that the showcase opened. A large crowd was present, and consisted of coordinators and directors from both ODU and Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Most of the audience stayed for the entire opening reception, which ended when student Caroline Simpson’s work was chosen as “Best in Show.”
The group of students has worked for three months to put together the display. It all started as each student’s thesis project. “It began as a research paper about a topic of personal interest and morphed into their artwork as a response and informed conversation about the information unearthed,” said Richburg.
As their first professional showing, this is a great opportunity for the visual arts students. Their collaboration with ODU has given them in-depth practice into the real-world aspect of art. “The experience of making this thesis work and then exhibiting in a space like the ODU Higher Ed Center really showed them all what is involved in putting up a group show,” Richburg said.
By: Allison Terres