Work by 32 photography students at Jupiter Community High School is at the Norton Museum of Art through Feb. 28. The exhibit is called “Beyond Appearances,” and shows aspects of South Florida that go beyond highlighting the area as a tropical paradise.
The following questions were answered by the teachers of the class, Stephen Germana and Sarah Knudtson.
QUESTION. What was the selection criteria for the photos selected for display at the Norton Art Gallery?
ANSWER. Last year our participants were members of the Photography Club and this year we wanted to include a new batch of students with different concepts and aesthetic voices. The 32 selected students visited the Norton during the opening of This Place: Israel and the West Bank Through Photography’s Lens. Their visit was punctuated with a lively conversation with Tim B. Wride, William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography, discussing everything from the artwork’s context, history and intention to the complexities of curating global artwork in this century.
Q. How does the show the different personalities and methods of the artists?
A. High school students are going to be high school students. As soon as you encourage them to make artwork that they want to make, their personality will manifest itself in that work. It’s a difficult assignment to encourage a student’s freedom of artistic choice while requiring them to contextualize that work in the greater world.
Q. What has been the reactions of students to having their work on display at the Norton Art Gallery?
A. The students react wonderfully, especially those that are able to attend the opening. To take part, a creative part, in a public event that celebrates art making, conversation and collaboration in a venue like the Norton, is encouraging to any student. And the fact that their work is in the same physical space as world class exhibitions and the permanent collection is an honor that does not go unmentioned.
Q. Criticism is an essential part of being an artist. How do you encourage students handle it?
A. Criticism is indeed essential and can be difficult for young artists to process. One of the first things is to build trust within the class, not like a “trust fall” type of trust, but more of an intellectual respect. I don’t expect them to like each other all the time, it is high school but I do want them to respect each other as artists and individuals.
Q. How will having their work on display at Norton effect the students?
A. This is the second year of the partnership and the effects on the students are apparent. The obvious change is an increase in confidence not only as artists but also as burgeoning public intellectuals. The show provides a venue for their ideas as well as their images. One of the less obvious changes is a continued increase in local stewardship and community-building, which collaborative partnerships are uniquely qualified to address.
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