Spring Arts Week


Madeline Phuong

It’s back! Spring Arts Week graces the virtual halls of Homestead High School for its 20th anniversary. In 2001, former Homestead English teacher and current substitute teacher Susie Johnson first introduced the idea of celebrating students’ artistic achievements. Now, adapting with the times, the Spring Arts Week gallery is online via Google Sites.

“It’s important to give students the opportunity to show their work to an outside audience — whether in the display cases throughout the year or during a formal art show,” Visual Arts Department Chair and Fine Arts teacher Sarah Shatto-Jones said. “The feedback they receive from students and other faculty members is always so encouraging to them.”

Jones added that the art show is also an opportunity for seniors to curate and present their own showcase. She most enjoys seeing teachers from other Homestead departments appreciate the work of fine arts students.

Although the National Honor Society’s Coffeehouse will not be held with the art show this year, the online gallery contains much to be explored. From a feature on local art schools and careers to helpful tips on creating your own online portfolio, there are a plethora of exhibits to view. Anyone can access the online gallery, which launched on Friday, May 7.

For those interested in taking a fine arts class for the 2021 to 2022 school year, the Homestead Course Description guide is linked on the website’s homepage. The Spartan Visual Arts Department offers 23 different art courses, including four Dual Credit classes and AP Studio Art.

“I really enjoy getting to see everyone’s work in one place, where you have time to really take time to observe the little things each artist has done to make these varieties of work,” Jordan Schlatter (12) said. Schlatter is one of three senior Spartans taking the AP Studio Art class. His portfolio of work, along with that of Autumn Bradfield (12) and Katie Murphy (12), is featured under the “Spring Arts Special Feature: AP Studio Senior Portfolios” section of the gallery.

For Schlatter, Spring Arts Week is a chance to reflect on the development of his artistic style throughout his high school career. He credited the Spartan Visual Arts department teachers and his peers for supporting and inspiring him to pursue art after high school. He added that, in the past year, he has experimented with new media, striving to assemble a portfolio that  uniquely highlighted his “playful, adroit, and emergent” style.

His acrylic painting, “Targeted Royalty,” was inspired by the discrimination and blindness that occur in royal politics, particularly as it relates to and affects the mental health of those who are targeted.

Schlatter also developed a digital collection created in Paint 3D. He added that digital drawing is an enjoyable and creative pastime of his during the school day, and he embraces digital art as the future.

“I have been able to develop a passion that continues to change me and steer me in my career path,” Schlatter said.

Every year, two student works in the Spring Arts Gallery are chosen by Dr. Phil Downs for the Superintendent’s Art Award. The recipients’ works are professionally framed and displayed in the Southwest Allen County Schools Central Office for the 2021 to 2022 school year. The Superintendent Art Award recipients this year are Amar Haskic (11) for digital art and Serena Buszuwksi (10) for her embroidery piece, “Connection.”

“(I was) inspired by my internal desire to reject civilization and connect with nature. It may sound very strange, but I’ve always loved nature and dream of living off the land out in the wilderness when I move away from Fort Wayne,” Buszuwski said.

She told that, while winning the award was unexpected, she appreciates being recognized for her hard work. Having taken Fiber Arts and Ceramics, Buszuwski plans to further explore fine arts classes at Homestead, especially because her teachers are extremely supportive in helping to expand her creativity and test out new media.

“I am very honored that other people enjoy my art as much as I enjoy creating it,” Buszuwski said. “Growing up surrounded by painting and an encouraging creative atmosphere has made art very important and influential to me.”

Additionally, the 2020 to 2021 recipients of the Spartan Visual Academic Arts Awards were announced on Wednesday, May 12. The department selected nine fine arts students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their creative vision, artistry, craftsmanship, use of media, attitude, and work ethic. The Academic Arts Award categories are as follows: Spartan Visual Arts Overall Department Winner, Excellence in 3D Art, Excellence in Ceramics, Excellence in 2D Art, Outstanding Underclassman in Art, Excellence in Photography, and Excellence in Digital Design.

Finally, a special thanks to the Homestead Fine Arts Department teachers: Sarah Shatto-Jones, Lisa Ricker, Cindy Husar, Dominick Manco, and Sam Welch. Without the endless encouragement of these individuals, Spring Arts Week would not be possible. Their dedication allows the flourishing of countless Spartan fine arts students.

Originally Published in the Spartana Issue 8 (May 2021)