Harmony on display in Swampscott

Swampscott High School junior Lauren Hussey gets ready to hang her artwork.


SWAMPSCOTT — High school artists will be featured in next week’s Visual Arts Night, with a student gallery opening and a student film screening.

The free event, presented by the Swampscott High School Visual Arts Department, will be Monday from 6 to 8 p.m., where students in the Digital Film Production and TV Studio Production will debut their work on the big screen in the school’s auditorium. There will also be the opening reception of “The Harmony of Opposites” in the school’s Class of 1965 Rotunda Gallery.

“I think it’s a celebration of the students and their intent to become visual artists,” said high school media arts teacher Joe Douillette. “It’s a moment to kind of pause and reflect on a way of expression that needs to be acknowledged with all of the other wonderful things that happen in the town … It’s a chance to celebrate the visual arts at the same level.”

Douillette said in a phone interview that students are really excited to celebrate what they’ve done and having a live audience changes the nature of their work. He said the decision was made to combine the two events because the department was interested in having the film program be seen as part of the visual arts program — the interest was for the public and students to see work in film as an art form.

Douillette said the the film students are excited for the viewing, because they wanted to see their work on the screen. Before it could only be seen on YouTube and the school’s cable channel.

Both events are curated by students — Fatima Sidibe and Kevin Coffey for the student film screening and Mary Miles and Meredith Zimmer for the gallery opening.

Miles, 15, a sophomore, said in a phone interview that people submitted art pieces and she and her co-curator, Zimmer, decided, based on the theme, what pieces they wanted to be in the show. She said they saw some of the pieces being submitted, and they were very diverse — some were very colorful and some were just black and white.

The only connection they made between them was their color contrasts, so the title became the “Harmony of Opposites,” Miles added. In a press release, the relationship was described as mimicking the day and night of our world, suggesting that although some things may not look alike, once put together they become a masterpiece.

Miles also has a piece in the gallery — a flower heart. She said her piece was for her midterm. Her class was doing projects on social issues, and she thinks a big issue right now is bullying, and how not everyone feels beautiful. Her piece depicts a heart with flowers behind it. Everyone’s heart, and everyone in general, is beautiful, she said, and a flower is just an example of a beautiful piece of nature.

She said her art teacher, Anita Balliro, introduced her to the art show, and Balliro thought it would be a good thing for her and her friend to do. Miles said she is interested to see how the show turns out and gave a simple reason why people should come.

“It’s just a cool way to see what the students are doing,” Miles said.

The event also marks the retirement of Balliro, the instructor for the show, who has been the visual arts teacher at the high school since 1993. Douillette said she is one of the beloved teachers in town and has impacted students’ relationships with the visual arts.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.


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