The Ballard Talisman

REVIEW: Art at BHS

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The art in our school was selected by alumni Alice Rooney and Matthew Kangas in 1997, when the new remodel opened. Students at school are lucky to have such beautiful and unique pieces to see everyday but, chances are that with all the business of everyday life, you’ve never really looked at the art on the wall.

 

Interview

  1. How did you pick the art that’s hanging around the school? This occurred in stages beginning before the building was begun. There were state arts commission funds we qualified for and spent. After that, we had a community call for artists to be considered. After that, we commissioned a number of artists (some alumni) to do special pieces. After that, we compiled four criteria for what qualifies for the collection: art that (1) reflects the current demographic of student body and community; art by (2) professional artists who live in ballard or had studios here; art by (3) ballard alumni who became professional artists; and (4) art about the history or culture of ballard high and the ballard community.
  2. Where is all the art from? Art was acquired from individual artists, art galleries, collector-donors, state and civic art commissions.
  3. Why did you put the art up? The art is there to enhance the everyday environment of the students and staff and to enrich their cultural exposure to a variety of styles and types of visual art.
  4. Would you consider yourself an “art person”? Meaning, do you really like art, going to museums, studying art, etc. Of course I am an art person; I have spent most of my life looking at and writing about art. I am professional art critic and independent art exhibition curator. Before that, I was a university-level English literature professor and publishing editor.
  5. What do you think students get out of being exposed to these different paintings? They get a break from the architecture, have a little light and color shown into their lives; can contemplate the meaning and construction process of various artworks which include sculptures, prints and photographs as well as paintings. Something they may not like today can grow on you—you’ll like it tomorrow!
  6. Do you have a favorite piece at school? My favorites keep changing as my knowledge and appreciation of them all increases. I hope this will happen to students also. why have one favorite? It’s all there for their enjoyment and appreciation—and to lighten the load of attending high school!
  7. Is there anything else you’d like to add? All the art is owned by the ballard high school foundation who maintain, install and conserve the artworks at our expense. Currently, we are raising money to frame a large series of gifts of prints of native American and African artists. The newest works on view are the preston singletary cedar box print; the Robert Davidson print southwest wind; and the susan point cry of the raven. Others are coming. Our goal is to enhance and increase the collection with the finest artworks available. We want the students to enjoy and feel comfortable seeing real art on an everyday basis, not just on a trip to the art museum, or on a vacation. It’s there every day for you!

 

Review

 

The Great Rocky – 1974

Located: Middle platform of the east staircase

This painting has a beautiful contrast of dark reds and ocean blues. The actual subject of the painting is distorted but it resembles a train track going straight with buildings on either side. There’s a lot going on in this painting but the dull, muted tones even it all out.

 

The Specialists – 1993

Located: The top of the middle staircase

This painting isn’t beautiful. It’s extremely interesting to look at and decipher. It has many different bright colors contained inside Picasso-esque abstract shapes and figures. The more you look at it, the more you find.

 

The Parade – 1972

Located: The bottom of the middle staircase

This lovely mixture of desert tones portrays a parade, as the name states. It does not necessarily fit the ongoing theme of Seattle or Ballard as other pieces in this gallery do. This is due to the fact that it’s full of warm colors and horseback riders. That being said, it’s a nice refresher from the normal blue-green colored nature scenes that one would normally find in our area.

 

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REVIEW: Art at BHS