When the Center for the Arts was originally constructed in 2003, Highland's artist-in-residence Karen Stinnett, who retired in 2020, insisted on a dedicated gallery space for student works.
"The gallery changed the way we were able to show students’ works," Ms. Stinnett said in an article in Highland Magazine. "Hanging artwork on a bulletin board is not the same as hanging artwork in a gallery. Showing your artwork is the same as performing a play instead of just learning the play."
"Art is about communicating. For an artist, there’s so much more to get from showing your art than just creating it," Ms. Stinnett continued. "Showing is like performance for introverts. People are looking at what you did, not you directly."
Exhibits in the gallery throughout the year
Each Spring, the gallery typically plays host to one of the most prominent shows of the year. In 2023, Highland alum Shayne Herrera '18, a recent graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University, presented his work in the gallery. The show consisted of a series of vibrant and colorful oil-based portraits of Shayne's family and friends.
"My work is rooted in uplifting the image of Black and brown bodies, by emphasizing storytelling, and the individuality and confidence that is shared as a result of being nurtured by generations of Black maternal figures."
Shayne also served as a resident artist during the time of his show. During his residency, he set up studio space in the gallery and served as a mentor to AP and advanced-level students.
Student shows are held in November and March and typically coincide with Upper School performances in The Rice Theater, which is adjacent to the art gallery. Student shows are open to any Highland student from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and are a great opportunity for parents to see their student's art in a gallery setting.
The school year ends with shows focused on advanced art students from the Upper School and alumni work. Students in our Advanced Placement (AP) classes showcase many of the pieces that make up their portfolios of work from these rigorous college-level courses.