Businesses celebrate student artists

Christopher High School student Julianna Leal poses in front of her painting April 19 at the opening of the spring art show in downtown Gilroy. Special to the Dispatch.

Stunning artwork from Christopher High School students is on display at a number of downtown Gilroy business and will remain through next week as part of a partnership between the school’s art department and business owners.

Green Glaze Pottery Studio, 7477 Monterey Road, Leedo Art & Framing, 7436 Monterey Road, and Bella Viva Ristorante, 7423 Monterey Road, showcased artwork from more than 100 CHS students for their inaugural spring art show.

“The goal for the department this year was to do community outreach and partner with downtown businesses, and we feel that we accomplished that,” said Amber Woodward, Christopher’s Visual Arts and Performing Arts Department Chair. “We have no gallery space on campus so we’re always looking, and the stores have all given up space to display our artwork.”

Woodward, who is the high school’s ceramics teacher, credited colleague Frederico Saldana, the drawing and painting teacher, with networking with downtown businesses to make this possible.

“The works accumulated for the show demonstrate the hard work and creativity of our students at Christopher High,” said Saldana, a Gilroy native. “Throughout the year, students have worked with a range of mediums. The works in the show are exemplary representations of what students achieved with those mediums.”

From surreal projects to pencil drawings to acrylic paintings to bird houses to wheel projects to mixed media pieces, the students voted on which artwork they wanted to publicly display that “best reflects them,” Saldana explained.

“The work is pretty phenomenal for the high school level,” said Woodward, who hopes to turn this showcase into an annual event and expand the number of downtown venues. “Now that the downtown movement is coming back a little bit, there are a lot of businesses looking for partnerships and we’re looking for space. It’s a win-win.”

The art show opened up last week with student artists rotating shifts so they can provide commentary about their work to those customers interested at the three downtown locations.

“Some pieces reflect fears and concerns that students face daily or are influenced by what they see happening in politics, both nationally and internationally,” Saldana said. “I am amazed and continue to be so by the quality and dedication these students give to their craft.”

“I have enjoyed watching the students develop their work. Sometimes, it seems effortless and the results come quick. Other times, I have witnessed students struggle with ideas and techniques to the point of frustration, yet they never give up,” Saldana said. “I am very proud of the work we have assembled here for this show.”