The third annual Wintertide Art Festival found its way back into the basement hallways of Nantucket High School Thursday, January 10th. From 5:00 to 7:00 pm, a collaboration between the English, Art, and Vocational departments brought forth a display of both audio and visual student art to the public eye. While the temperature outside dropped to a chilly 29 degrees, the heat rose in the downstairs of the high school as over 75 bodies shuffled in and out of the cramped space. Previously, the Wintertide Art Festival consisted mainly of two dimensional paintings and drawings as well as some student ceramic works. However, this year the Art department welcomed in many new classes and events.
While the display was going on in the bottom floor, students climbed on stage upstairs at the Mary P. Walker auditorium for Poetry Out Loud, a poetry memorization competition amongst high schoolers. Phaedra Plank won the evening with a strong reading of her selected poem, and fellow junior Tori Dixon was first runner up. Poetry Out Loud has been a reoccurring event at the high school, but new this year as part of the Wintertide Art Festival. Students begin the competition in their English classes where two were selected to move forward. However, due to varying participation, students can enter the schoolwide competition without going into a preliminary round. As the winner, Plank will now be on the road to compete at the Southeast regional competition.
In addition to the poetry competition, the vocational classes at Nantucket High School were also given the opportunity to participate in the art festival. Culinary provided various appetizers including cod cakes, cheesy stuffed potatoes, and various pastries. While admiring the artwork, visitors enjoyed the these delicious treats. Culinary club members Deja Lewis and Dequan Thompson worked with Chef Tom Proch to create the snacks and were seen shuffling in and out of the basement all evening.
Mike Girvin’s woodshop classes were also newly displayed at the art festival. Perhaps one of the most impressive pieces was freshman Camden Knapp’s wooden surfboard made of pine. Cooper Norris, who has been taking woodshop for a couple years now, also contributed some stained Adirondack chairs displayed on both sides of the room. Cutting boards and shelving were also laid out for viewing, and many parents stopped to observe the results of weeks of work and preparation.
However, many of the original elements of the Wintertide Arts Festival remained. Most of the creations on display came from more commonly thought of arts. Art, Graphic Design, and Digital Art teacher Merrill Mason asked her students to pull together some of their favorite pieces they wanted on display for the show.
Mason admitted, “I love seeing all the people come to appreciate the work the students put in. I will say, although, there are far less traditional pieces than normal.” Mason points out the mass amount of art displayed in her room that came from her Digital Photo and Graphic Design classes. Most of the wall is covered by Digital Photo, in which there are four blocks of classes alone. The more traditional art is able to fit nicely into the smaller ceramics room, where they are displayed on easels. The traditional art seemed to get more attention as well, as many parents and visitors took photos of senior Britney Anderson’s portrait paintings.
NHS Athletic Director Christopher Maury, an attendee at the festival commented, “Every year I come to this, I see how talented the kids are at our school. The artwork displayed blows my mind, it’s truly impressive.” One of Maury’s favorite pieces came from Senior Marina Caspe, who painted various animals onto her ceramics bowl.
Teachers and parents were not the only ones who enjoyed this event either. Students from freshmen to seniors could be seen wandering the hall, whether they were looking at their own work or that of a classmates. While students are required to submit a piece from most classes, students have expressed their appreciation for the event. Sophomore Sydney King, a Digital Photo student, said, “I really love how people can see and comment on my work. It makes me feel confident and proud of all the hard work I do.” King’s favorite piece is a photo taken of sophomore Waverly Brannigan in which she used to post photo manipulation to change the physical look of the photo. Other students could also be seen admiring their work, including, Macy Crowell, Britney Anderson, Cooper Norris, and Marina Caspe.
The Wintertide Art Festival was more successful than ever this year. Participation had greatly exceeded expectations and the variety of contributions from live music to food made the evening all the more enjoyable. Once again, the art department pulled together an incredible event and added a whole new dimension to the art program here at Nantucket High School.
By Anna Steadman