The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

A palette of possibilities: The WCHS art show that is redefining creativity

Photo by Dylan Tortorelli
Dylan Tortorelli’s submitted a digital artwork to the WCHS art show illustrating a cityscape. This is only one out of the many different styles of art that have been submitted.

When course selection time rolls around in January, for students in most schools, they might notice that they are missing an art credit. In order to obtain their missing credit, they decide to select the most appealing art course. However, at WCHS, the art culture is completely different. Students sign up for the wide variety of art classes offered to fulfill their passion for art, which is fueled by the school’s support through the WCHS arts show. 

WCHS provides great opportunities for students to carry out their passion for art, particularly when it comes to providing fundamental funding to the arts. This is an anomaly, and despite WCHS providing such funding, MCPS lacks significant art budgets, which impacts the quality of arts programs. 

“I feel like our administration at WCHS and our WCHS community do everything they can to fund our art programs, and support it in any way they can,” WCHS photography teacher Amy Gilbert said. “That said, all school systems are having budget issues, the last several years especially, and there is never as much money as we need.”

To combat the budget problems, WCHS holds an art show yearly. The art show has been around for decades, bringing additional funding to the arts program and showcasing the students’ pieces, which they work on rigorously throughout the semester.

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“I think many students also enjoy seeing the work their friends make, not realizing their friends had such amazing talents,” Gilbert said. 

Most students are able to experience the art show, either by having one of their classes take them to the art hallway or by going during lunch. Every year, many friends of the displayed artists have been shocked to see how well-constructed their friends’ work was.

“I submitted two pieces – both of water and made of oil pastels. One was of a waterfall and the other was more realistic: a sunset over waves,” Morandi said. “My friends were very impressed with my work. Telling me how they never thought of me as such an artist.”

In addition to being displayed, every submission to the art show has the opportunity to enter into designated art competitions that their art course offers. Some selected students’ art is so sophisticated that they enter, and may win, more prestigious competitions.  

“Our art students in all classes had the opportunity to participate in the Scholastic Art and Writing awards, and we had 47 art awards this year,” Gilbert said. “There are several great high school competitions that all the art classes have chosen to compete in that we always have local, state and national winners at. There are about 8-10 other free photography or 2D art competitions that the photo and digital art students all enter.”

Each class is able to enroll in their own competitions prior to the art show, granting students even more opportunities to showcase their art throughout the school year. However, among the pieces that won from the 2024 art show, awards came from various courses offered such as photography, digital art, fashion design, ceramics and studio art, just to name a few.

“I think [the art show] is a great way to showcase the diversity of art forms and techniques welcomed and taught at WCHS,” Morandi said. “Displaying art from studio art all the way to fashion design encapsulates the range.”

The direct impacts of the art show towards students who take the art classes, and are the heart of the WCHS art program, are undeniable. Displaying such talent school-wide, which may go unrecognized, is remarkable. 

“[The WCHS art show] gives me more drive and inspiration for every piece I make,” Tortorelli said. “To be my best, and show the school what I am capable of.”

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