Over 1,000 Santa Clara Unified School District students and their families walked through the doors of the Triton Museum of Art on March 2. In fact, in the first few minutes of the museum’s 10 a.m. opening, over 150 people had entered the gallery. It was all for the museum’s 43rd Annual SCUSD Student Art Exhibition.
“There are parents here who had their art work in the show [as students] and now they’re brining their kids,” said Carmen Pascual, visitor service associate at the museum. “It’s a really big thing. They’ll keep coming and bring their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends because it’s a way of taking pride in their work.”
Almost all of the schools within SCUSD are represented. “All 16, I think it’s 17, elementary schools, all four middle schools – except Buchser because the teacher was sick – and then the high schools are represented,” said Triton Curator of Education Maria Ester Fernandez. “And they each have about 20-30 pieces because we don’t have much space…[The show] is up for about a month and the kids come in. This is their reception so we have refreshments outside – cookies and cheese sticks and their wine, which is juice boxes. And then we have the activities just to give them some arts education.”
To have an art piece shown, the teachers submitted the student artwork to the district. “It’s not a competition and I stress that,” said Fernandez. “I believe they don’t host it as a competition. The teachers submit the artwork, and they may have a way of selecting the pieces at the district, but I stress that it’s not a competition.”
The reception was combined with the Triton’s Family Art Day, where children and their families go to the museum and create art projects that complement the current exhibits.
“Today we’re doing coffee filters with water-soluble marker,” said Fernandez. “So basically, it’s a lesson on color and abstraction. We also have lettering inspired by the Islamic exhibition. It’s not Islamic lettering, they’re using English, but they’re taking the shapes – either organic shapes or the pre-made shapes that we provided and – they’re writing names inside with colored pencils…And, then the third piece is inspired by the Dominic Cretara series of doors – the door frames that are in the main gallery. They’re creating their own doorways, and they’re very beautiful. They’re using oil pastel on black paper.”
As children and their parents created new art and admired the artwork on the walls, photos were taken and big smiles crept across the students’ faces. Their art was in a public museum – up on the wall for everyone to see. Not everyone can say that.
Mission City Community Fund sponsored the art day and Whole Foods Market, Blossom Hill sponsored the refreshments for the reception. The show, which runs through mid-April, is currently on limited view due to the museum’s art classes. Call (408) 247-2438 or visit www.tritonmuseum.org for more information.