Once the last bell rings on a Friday afternoon, most students run out of school as fast as they can. However, on Friday, Jan. 7, over 100 students, faculty members and parents flooded into the Roberts Gallery to attend the Homegrown Art Show. The event, which lasted from 3:30-7:30 p.m., was a sale and gallery showing of art pieces by the Samo Art Program, organized by Samo alumnus Caer Ferguson.
“When I was a student at Samo I was in the art and music programs pretty equally, but art was really more of my passion. I did see a big difference in how they were funded and how much support they got,” Ferguson said. “That realization inspired me to say that art is just as important as music. Art should get the same funding and support.”
Ferguson graduated from Samo two years ago and currently attends the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston.
“I work in their admissions office and at a children’s art camp during the summer. Life is pretty good, with a lot of art involved,” Ferguson said of her life after Samo.
It was her college’s Inside Out Sales — gallery showings of art by students, alumni and faculty — that gave her the idea for Samo’s Homegrown Art. Ferguson sold her first piece of art this year at an Inside Out Sale and was motivated to give Samo student artists the same opportunity.
“I chose to come back to Samo because I am very interested in becoming involved in public programs and social activism. Coming back to Samo seemed like the logical choice. It’s someplace I had come from and my father is a part of a parent community board with the district, where he represents the music program,” Ferguson said. “It made sense for me to come back.”
She decided to call the sale Homegrown Art because the pieces were created in our homes and in our community.
“I think Homegrown Art is pretty cool. It’s great that not just people from AP Art participating. There are people from painting and photography, just everyone from the Samo art community,” junior AP Art Student Nicholas Sardo said. “I hope this happens more than once. For all the art that is bought, 50 percent goes to the art program and the other half goes to the artist. Our art program is in need of money so this is a great way to help it.”
The event took place in the Roberts Gallery, a large space on the bottom floor of the History building. During the event, the room was crowded with people, a constant din of voices floating out onto the patio where there was food and refreshments. At the front table sat Ferguson, accepting payments from buyers. The people seemed to be flowing counter-clockwise around the room, holding a plate of taquitos in one hand and pointing with the other to an art piece on the wall.
“I think Homegrown Art is an awesome event because it really lets the creativity and all the hard work come together,” Samo principal Dr. Hugo Pedroza said.
The art varied from framed illustrations of flowers sprouting like smokestacks to abstract watercolor sunsets, from black and white honest portraits of students to a wooden box on a pedestal from which John Lennon’s bespectacled face stares. A piece hung from the ceiling by fishing wire, making it appear as though the bright pink words “LOVE, LIFE” were hovering in midair. There were pedestals on which navy and turquoise ceramic vases, bowls and cups were perched. A watercolor of one of the most famous trios in literature — Harry, Hermione and Ron — was displayed next to a collage about first love.
“As artists, we actually get to experience selling our work. The show is preparing those of us who want to be professional artists for real gallery showings,” sophomore AP Art Student Alison Guh said.
As afternoon turns to night, music can be heard in the gallery. At five, sophomore Zoe Zelkind took the stage. She strummed her cello with her fingers and sang original songs with her euphonious voice. Zelkind has never been in a choir program, noting with a wry smile that she doesn’t know if she is an alto or soprano. This only makes her performance more remarkable. The second act was Scott Ferguson, who performed twangy country and blues songs. The last of the three acts, but certainly not least, was senior Jason Pitts. He began by plucking out a piece by Bach on his guitar and then proceeding to play us a few songs from his album, which debuted on iTunes on Jan. 15.
Artists sat on the ground with their sketchbooks during the performances. They drew the musicians, their eyes flickering up to the stage every minute or so as the melodies filled their eyes. The result was gorgeous illustrations of the performers.
The event was an amalgamation of inspiring creativity on both an artistic and musical level. Students can bet that this will not be the last event that joins the departments for a night of art, music and food.