Weston’s K-12 art show returns


Sophia Simmons

Art show in the science wing of WHS.

Sophia Simmons, Staff Writer

The Weston Schools K-12 Art Show, which opened on May 17, brought together student artwork from every grade to one location, the WHS Science Wing. The event also allowed younger students the opportunity to see what is possible to create as they get older, and reminded upperclassmen of their projects from the past. Covid restrictions interrupted the show for the past two years, this year the K-12 art show was able to return to holding an opening night celebration on May 17 and was available to view through May 27.

   Christopher Fehl, the K-12 visual arts director, is completing his twentieth year teaching in the Weston Public Schools and was very excited prior to the show for its return. 

  “This is our time to shine. Outside of the students and teachers, very few people are aware of the vibrant learning experience in the art studios, but the art show is about sharing our experience with the Weston community. Nothing compares to seeing artwork in person,” Fehl said. “It was a lot of work for a relatively short duration, but it is well worth the effort. Seeing the pride on students’ faces as they share their work with family, friends, and teachers is so rewarding for art teachers.” 

   Weston High School junior and National Art Honor Society member Maggie Niewman agrees that seeing the work she and her classmates have done is gratifying and it also gives her the opportunity to reflect on her journey through various art classes over the years.

    “I love the K-12 art show because it connects students of all ages and reminds me of the projects I have done in the past. Reflecting on it as a high school student is especially rewarding and makes me appreciate the opportunities and memories I have from the art classes I have taken in the Weston schools since kindergarten,” Niewman said.

    The enthusiasm for this art show doesn’t only come from its long awaited return; art teachers were eager for student art to be showcased again because of its impactful meaning.

     “It’s about sharing our amazing experience learning how to make art. Art exhibitions are part of the learning process. Sharing artwork with others takes courage but also gives others motivation for doing their very best. Seeing the work together is very rewarding for both students and teachers,” Fehl said.

  WHS studio art teacher Julie Hom-Mandell also enjoys having the chance to choose some of the artwork that is displayed.

   “As a studio arts teacher, I usually select two to three pieces from each student. I usually matte and label the work. In addition, I create QR codes [for each piece] that [link to] the students’ digital art slides with their student reflections. The digital slides have been a new addition since the pandemic,” Hom said.

   An important piece that was highlighted in the show comes from a portfolio directed by Fehl of a mural located on the Concord Road. underpass of the Mass Central Rail trail in Weston;  the 2021 Weston Rail Trail social justice mural.

   “Mr. Fehl hand built 21 frames and will print each of the students’ art designs with their artist statement.  Though the actual mural is located on the Concord Road underpass, we (wanted)  to have photographs of my wonderful advanced Studio Art students’ [work] since they  used part of the summer break to create such an important permanent public art mural,” Hom said.  

   Hom was also looking forward to highlighting a project involving student work from the Weston Arts and Innovation Center.

   “My advanced studio art students collaborated with Ms. Kresl-Moffat’s Students for Environmental action as well as the Cambridge School of Weston’s Zora Foundation to showcase sustainable art and artwork that focuses on the climate crisis,” Hom said.

    Despite the excitement about the return of the art show, the set-up involved much forethought.

   “There is a lot of planning involved. Artwork is prepped for hanging, panels and other devices are arranged to maximize the amount of work that can be shown,” Fehl said, “Much of it depends on the type of work being exhibited. Paper and prints are hung one way, while 3D and clay are displayed in other ways.” 

   This process became even easier this year thanks to the generosity of WEEFC as they have recently provided “Pro Panels” for displaying the art. These panels allow an easier set up while showcasing a very professional look. ProPanels is a portable art display panel system, made of welded tubular steel with vinyl coated legs and tips.