MENLO PARK, CA—Students, family, friends and members of the public are expected to attend A Night of the Arts, a creative extravaganza hosted annually by Mid-Peninsula High School’s student body.
The year-end celebration of creativity transforms the small private school into an immersive experience of original art featuring individual pieces and installations by about 80 students, musical performances by four student ensembles, a theater performance and a delectable edible art reception.
“The Night of the Arts best demonstrates who we are as a learning community,” says Head of School Doug C. Thompson. “Kids embrace art without any hesitation, which is quite remarkable, and they’re all working together very cooperatively to make the show go on. The quality of the work is really extraordinary.”
Come by and Enjoy:
- Artwork by More Than 80 Students
- Live Music by Four Student Ensembles
- A One-Act Play: “Superhero Support Group”
- A Delicious Edible Art Display
WHEN: Friday, May 16, 5–8 p.m.
WHERE: Mid-Peninsula High School, 1340 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025
The exhibit, which is created, hung and hosted by the student body, will include photography, fashion, armor, graffiti, collage, oil painting, silkscreen and mixed media. Students select the most representative pieces from their bodies of work, exploring themes of body image, consciousness, rituals, humor, individuality, beauty and transformation.
The emphasis at Mid-Peninsula High School is to encourage a community in which students feel comfortable enough to explore new mediums and new ideas and discover their own unique voice, says Anna Wronsky, Art instructor.
“The more we get to know them the more we push their boundaries.”
Art is part of the required graduation curriculum for Mid-Peninsula students. Many of the pieces on display for the exhibit are pieces created in the Studio Art course, which was designed for students who want to focus on self-chosen themes and mediums under the mentorship of an accomplished artist. Students apply to the course, which satisfies University of California requirements. There is an emphasis on peer critique and students of different levels work to support each other’s visions.
The evening also highlights music with performances by four student ensembles led by Music instructor Jameson Swanagon and a student production of “Superheroes Support Group,” a one-act play, under the direction of Drama teacher Jessi Phillips.
In the Music program at Mid-Pen, musicianship and theory are learned through a student-selected repertoire with a focus on original work and individual interpretations of pieces.
“The class ends up being about group problem-solving—how can we play this song and make us sound great?” Swanagon says. “The responsibility of the performance is on them. I tell the students, ‘We’re not just emulating someone. We’re putting forth you specifically.’”
The arts are celebrated at Mid-Pen also as an effective outlet for expression as well as creativity and individuality.
“We have lot of kids with tremendous learning differences here and a lot of kids that struggle with academic classes do well here because you can learn in different ways.” Swanagon says.
Among the student artists are:
- Rachel Thurber, 19, a fashion makeup artist, will present photographs of students and staff in individualized make-up. The work will be presented in large-scale prints along a runway. Upon graduation, Thurber will be working as a costume designer’s apprentice for a year before applying to the prestigious Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver, Canada.
- Emily Brown, 17, a multi-media artist who explores, levels of consciousness, culture and symbolism, will be presenting some of the work from her college admissions portfolio. Brown, who serves as an art tutor at the school, will be attending the Pratt Institute in New York in the fall.
- Ryan Ramakrishnan, 18, a photographer who is passionate about presenting new perspectives, primarily close-ups. After a gap year, he intends to attend community college.
- Jessica Cuevas, 17, a mixed media artist who discovered a passion for art and history in high school, will present several projects from her portfolio. She intends to pursue art and explore pre-law studies at San Francisco State University in the fall.
- Justine Tsai will be creating the edible art installation for the reception.
Over the years, many Mid-Peninsula graduates have gone on to pursue art, attending Pratt Institute, Parsons The New School for Design, Otis College of Art and Design, Brooks Institute and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
About Mid-Peninsula High School
Mid-Peninsula High School has been a community for learning since 1979, offering students a stimulating, nurturing and safe environment that empowers them to reach their full academic and social potential. With a current enrollment of 119, the campus provides a supportive community for students to discover and map out their plans for higher education and/or vocation. We work to strengthen the relationships between students, families and the community. The Mid-Peninsula High School continues to raise funds to support financial aid and our overall operating budget. Thirty-four percent of our students receive financial assistance.