Community Gallery showcases student and faculty art

Ariella Frommer and Erica Jiang

The Community Gallery, which debuted online this week, uses various mediums of art — including baking, photography and sketching — to connect members of the community with one another, art teacher Lombardo said. “We didn’t have access to the physical space in Fisher, and we wanted to take it a step further and open up the gallery to everyone in the community.” 

Lombardo first thought of creating a community gallery last March. Since then, she has been gathering artwork from members of the school community, which ultimately culminated in the creation of the school’s Community Gallery. 

The art within the gallery has fostered a sense of community, Nursery Division administrative assistant Katharine Swibold said. “I like being connected to the people, so I thought it was such a nice thing to make this space for all of us to express ourselves,” she said. 

During quarantine, artists in the community have had more time to hone their skills and produce art, Louise Kim (10) said. Kim has spent her free time in HM Online 2.0 painting on her easel and drawing, she said. 

Kim contributed three pieces to the gallery: a self-portrait with a mask, a photograph of a building reflecting the skyline, and a picture of a home-cooked meal. Kim said the portrait encourages people to “re-examine or reflect on what we see as people or faces,” as masks can blanket one’s expressions and blur one’s perception of others. “I wanted to contribute something to that collective awareness of art, and how it expresses this moment and other emotions or feelings that are best expressed in art,” Kim said. 

The quarantine has allowed Swibold to focus on her baking in a more intense way. “It’s therapy,” Swibold said. “I like creating something, eating it, and I love sharing it with other people.”  

Art teacher Kim Do has had time to meet with a group of friends to paint over Zoom, he said. “Over about eight or nine sessions, I painted each of the individual artists,” he said. Two of Do’s works, titled “Zoom Painting With Artist Friends,” have been added to the gallery. Do said that art tries to address the same “why” questions that philosophy and religion try to answer. “Art expands our notion of what the world could be or what the world is.” 

Two of administrative assistant Ennis Smith’s contributions to the gallery, both titled “Flowers Behind Bars,” are photos of flowers behind a fence. They represent the many pleasures that were lost during the pandemic including community gardens, Smith said. “Suddenly it’s spring and all this beauty is available to us, yet the beauty is kind of on lockdown.” 

The Community Gallery was a great opportunity to showcase his work, Smith said. “I had realized very early on that there were things about COVID that I didn’t want to forget, and so you just find yourself taking pictures of things that we ordinarily would probably just kind of walk by.” 

The artwork in the community gallery reflects the art program at the school and its wonderful participants, Do said. “They’re not just talented, but they’re also hard working.” 

While the Community Gallery is an illustration of all the art made in quarantine, Lombardo said that not all artists had the ability to create all day long. “There’s a lot of pressure on artists to be able to produce more because of what’s going on now, but it’s not reasonable to discount artists’ anxiety as well.”

Rhys Shepherd (12) did not pursue his interest in photography as often during quarantine. “I don’t go out as much, and I’m not getting into the city and being around a lot of interesting subjects and places to take photos,” he said. “Time, yes. Motivation, no.”

Still, Shepherd appreciates that the gallery has many different types of artwork from students in each grade. “Art is self expression, so I think being able to represent all the different student’s ideas and the way they see photography is nice and important,” he said.

Smith realized that much of the art in the Community Gallery depict similar subjects, he said. “It seems to be things that make us feel more at home, like bread baking.”

Raghav Poddar (9) said it was inspiring to see all of the different art forms in the gallery. “I expected to see mostly drawings and paintings, but upon opening the HM Community Gallery,” he said. “I was reminded that art is an application of our creative and imaginative skill.”