Creativity Shines in CommUNITY Exhibition

In an effort to have the entire school come together and unite as one in a creative fashion, the Visual Arts Department led the charge in an all-school art exhibition, "commUNITY." Now hanging in the Crawford Campus Center Gallery, the exhibit features nearly 500 8" x 8" pieces created by EA students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, alumni, and more—all unique in their own way.

"The concept behind this exhibition is not a new one, but took on a different form this year," said Visual Arts Chair David Sigel, Hon. "In 2022, we created a giant luminary in the gallery by taking individual cutouts made by students and faculty and gluing them together. But this year, we wanted to reach out to the whole community. This amazing school is what it is because of everyone! We wanted to invite, welcome, and remind everyone that they are creative and can visit this amazing exhibition space that is an enriching resource (and in-house field trip!)"

The exhibition, which had an official gallery opening reception on Wednesday, Jan. 24, celebrated the collective creativity of our community and also offered the sounds of our Middle and Upper School Jazz Ensembles. 

"I was so delighted and happy to see the collective effort of the EA community," said junior Eleanor Anderson. "The different mediums were so wonderful and portray different aspects and creativity throughout our school." 

Eleanor, who is active in EA's Install It Club, was thrilled to see the exhibition come together. "I have helped to direct several different projects such as the new language department mural and the mosaic in the Crawford Campus Center, and I think it is so important to have artwork around campus to bring life to the buildings," she said.

"It was exciting to watch the walls evolve with the addition of every new submission for the show," said Upper School Art Teacher Hilary Hutchison, Hon. "Each time I walk into the gallery, I find myself discovering a new piece. I love how the gallery looks filled with so many varied works of art, in terms of subject, style, creativity, imagination, and material, while maintaining a compositional sense of unification by using the 8" x 8" inch panel for display. There are works made from carved wood, swatches of knitting and crochet, ceramics, mosaic, photography, paper collage, traditional drawings, paintings, and prints."

In addition to the pieces in the gallery itself, students in Honors Photo IV and Honors Photo III showcased portrait work in a complementary photo exhibition just outside the Gallery called "Faces of EA." The assignment "seamlessly fit in for the tail end of the portrait unit for Photo III students" and collectively created the "fourth wall" of the commUNITY exhibit by showcasing a matching grid of square portrait photographs of members of the EA community, explained Photography Teacher Ellen Erikson. 

"In alignment with the spirit behind 'commUNITY,' the assignment was to create an inclusive representation of what EA looks like with these portrait photographs," she said. True representation meant that photography students were asked to take photographs of students, faculty, and staff in all divisions, including those they did not know.

"Seeing the space converted from a maker space with blank walls to an amalgam of individual pieces coming together truly matched the vision and representation of a community," Mr. Sigel said. "The ask was simple: share your creativity and a little bit about yourself through your art. Art is visual communication and how can we tell and express ourselves and take a moment to be reflective and thankful for this community? The concept came to life as expected, but the bonus was to see the artists point out their work to each other. Teacher to student and student to advisor, college counselor, and friends."

The exhibition will be in the Crawford Campus Center Gallery through Feb. 24.