One person made three trips to the artwork, which was perched on easels during the Board of Education’s closed door meeting. Seven pieces by high school students—ranging from paintings and drawings to photographs—lined the wall, and meeting goers paused for double- and triple-takes as they tried to figure out which ones were photos and which ones were paintings. You could almost hear the collective groan as the BOE members finally filed out of their room to restart the town meeting. There just wasn’t enough time to fully appreciate the art work on display during the break.
Of course, that’s the way it always is at town meetings. The walls of the John Weichsel Center meeting room are always plastered with art work created by Southington students. Wandering the halls of the municipal center, it’s easy to forget your destination with the wide array of pieces from a range of Southington students, K-12. Murals created by local artists adorn buildings in town and on the rail-trail, and the Southington Community Cultural Arts center in the Gura Building off the town green seems to scream to passers-by that Southington is a community with a vibrant art scene.
The squeaky wheel always gets the grease. People come out in hordes to face threats to Southington’s athletic programs or music classes. The robotics team seems to spend more time on its victory lap each year than its competition schedule. We’re not complaining. These kids all deserve praise and recognition, but don’t forget the local artists. This may be the most successful and award-winning program of all, and you hardly hear a peep from any of them. Maybe it’s because “starving” artists are used to being under-appreciated and under-funded. It doesn’t seem to stop them or slow them down. It actually seems to inspire them.
Recently, we spoke to Southington High School’s art department chair Thomas Horanzy, and we were amazed at the success his department is enjoying. That was the purpose of the pop-up art display at the town meeting. This year, local high school art students sent 22 pieces to the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards competition, and approximately one-third (7) came home with silver and gold keys. This year’s judges recognized more Southington award winners than ever before, and it’s no surprise.
There were three gold key winners. Abigail Legere was recognized for her high-contrast painting, “Pomegranates in low lighting.” Jacob Manente won for his bleak, industrial photograph, “Abandoned Soul,” and Thomas Palko took home the top prize for his portrait photo, “Iago.”
But they weren’t the only local winners. Four students earned silver keys. Jacqueline Carbone was honored for her painting, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and three others captured silver for their drawings and illustrations. “Me, Myself, and I” by Rebecca Dorzens, “Engine” by Kathy Ponce, and “The Whip” by Jennifer Thai scored silver keys.
If you couldn’t get to the meeting, don’t fret. All seven photos will be featured at the annual SHS art show in the auditorium lobby on Monday, May 14, along with fashion creations, music, crafts, and demonstrations by other high school artists and artisans and punctuated with sweet-smelling flower arrangements from the Vo-Ag students. Circle your calendar. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If you want a small preview of the artwork, click below:
To comment on this story or to contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.