This past wednesday and thursday, the Biddeford High School held their annual art show, bringing attraction and attention to the art community.
This year’s art show was one like no other. With an enormous beehive in the main lobby and various art displayed throughout the hallway, it was hard to miss. But how did this art show get started? In the school year of 2008-2009, Chuck Lamontagne, the principal of Biddeford Middle School at the time, suggested holding an art show in order to display the student’s work and involve them in the community. As the high school jumped in, the show started to evolve. Now, the art show has become an annual event and is held every two years, including artwork from kindergarten students all the way to twelfth grade. Karen Rubin, the fine arts department head at Biddeford High School, explains just how much work goes into the show each year.
“At the beginning of the school year we start having meetings and we figure out where it’s definitely going to be,” said Rubin. “We then do a walk through and each teacher in whichever section chooses their spot.”
But when this work is done, the result pays off.
“I think my favorite part is the finale of it being all together, just seeing it as one whole piece,” said Rubin. “I know what I’m bringing to the show but I don’t always know what everyone else is bringing to the show, so the first walk-through is just really nice.”
After the planning, creation of the art, and the set up, the show is ready to begin. With students of all grades coming, along with members of the community outside of Biddeford High, the artwork shines for all to see.
“It gets a lot of people in here so they can see the new building. The event that they’re having tonight where anyone can come in and walk around, that’s a huge community piece,” said Principal Jeremie Sirois. “I mean they’ll probably be 200-300 people here tonight that are not necessarily affiliated with the school who just live in Biddeford. So I think any time you can get people in the building is a good thing and it involves everybody.”
Sirois says his favorite part of the art show is being able to see all of the kids in the school, preferably his two sons that come to visit. Having the kids from all grades come to visit can be “a huge benefit,” as Sirois explains.
“Little kindergarteners and first graders look up to high schoolers, so it’s kind of nice to see all of those kids walking around,” said Principal Jeremie Sirois. “The art show is a lot of work for our art teachers, but when you see those kids walking around and having a good time, you can’t help but have a smile on your face, so I think that’s a huge benefit.”
Not only does it bring in the younger students, but parents and community members as well. With members of the community coming in, this helps the students of Biddeford High School feel more connected with their community.
“With the community, we’re working on trying to get kids in the high school more involved in the community, like with the mills or with ‘Engine’ [an art studio downtown], so we’re trying to get more connected with the community but it’s still a work in progress,” Rubin said.
Sophomore and tour guide Michelle Deshaies comments on why she thinks the art show is important.
“I think it shows progression in art and lots of differences in people’s talent,” Deshaies said.
With Biddeford High School’s famous reputation for sports, the art show displays the other side that not many people get to see – our artistic side.
“We’re always considered sort of the sports school, and I think this sort of validates the fact that we have a great art program, we have some teachers and kids that do great things,” said Sirois. “This brings out sort of the best of what we are, we’re known for our sports but it gives our other population, and even some of our athletes that are good at art a chance to shine in a different kind of way.”