Article By: Tara Elsa
On Thursday, October 15, the biannual Santa Rosa High School ArtQuest Showcase took place. Normally, the showcase is held in the various SRHS ArtQuest classrooms around campus, but this year looked very different than most. There was still work shown for each of the ArtQuest specialties, but everything was online through the ArtQuest website (linked below) and YouTube.
Each school year, there is one ArtQuest Showcase held in the fall and one held in the spring. This year, the Fall Showcase video opened with an introduction from Kira Bombace, the SRHS Vocal Music teacher, and Nzinga Woods, the SRHS Dance director, followed by an introduction of the ArtQuest staff in the form of a famous television series intro from the early 1970s, the Brady Bunch.
“We had two parts, the ‘main’ part that was an overview of what ArtQuest is as a whole and all the specialties it offers, and the second part which is more individual and allows interested parties to attend the specialties they are most interested in and ask questions. Of course, this year we had to do all that virtually. It was a lot more work before the event, but allowed the ArtQuest faculty to relax and enjoy the evening events more than we usually get to,” said Brooke Delello, the Showcase committee chair and visual fine arts teacher at SRHS. There were some complications while getting the showcase together because of fires and evacuations going on in Sonoma County and surrounding counties. They had to push the date back a week, allowing them time to be able to get everything put together.
The video included work from ArtQuest students in each speciality from this year and the past few years. The specialties included Digital Arts, Dance, Video Arts, Instrumental Music, Visual Fine Arts, Theatre Arts, Photography, and Vocal Music. There were also presentations from the ArtQuest English teachers, Evan Englar (ArtQuest Counselor), and Alicia Morrison (ArtQuest Program Assistant).
After the video, parents and students were instructed to join the live Zoom sessions and check out the student work put together by each ArtQuest teacher. Most of the work chosen by the teachers was from this year. Some of the work was focused on this year’s ArtQuest theme, which is “Question. Disrupt. Create. Change.” Delello’s class did a project called A Call To Action where students got to do a project centered around the ArtQuest theme. “We started out talking about and looking at the role of the artist when it comes to a voice in the world and what a unique position the artist is in to be able to use their craft to share a message. Art is an incredibly personal endeavor and I have never censored my students,” said Delello while describing the project. She went on to say that “people are going to disagree and people are going to have different views. We see this everywhere now, but instead of shouting and violence, maybe the work will prompt dialogue instead.”
It is still undecided whether the second semester of this school year will be online or in-person with strict guidelines. This makes it possible that the ArtQuest Spring Showcase could also be all online. “When we lost Spring Showcase last April, it was heartbreaking to the faculty and students of ArtQuest. Spring Showcase is a celebration of our year, the hard work, and community that is fostered and what is created from it. Particularly for the four visual arts disciplines (Photography, Digital, Video and VFA [Visual Fine Arts]), Spring Showcase is the one time that they get to show what they have been doing all year. It is their only “performance,” said Dellelo.
“We have been talking about a virtual gallery and virtual performances, or a multi-day exhibition so the crowds can be kept socially distanced, or… what I do know is that after just a few weeks rest from planning Fall Showcase, the Showcase committee will be back to our weekly meetings to prepare for what Spring Showcase might be.” said Delello. Looking ahead, it is quite possible that the spring semester will be virtual learning again, and people can expect the ArtQuest Spring Showcase to be similar to the Fall Showcase with online performances or possibly some sort of socially-distanced event.
The ArtQuest Showcase is still available online at http://www.artquestonline.org/ where people can see both the ArtQuest videos and the student work from each specialty.