Tuesday, March 03, 2015
The Kids Are All Artists
The San Francisco Unified School District launched their week-long Arts Festival at the Asian Art Museum last Saturday for the third year in a row. There are short musical performances in Samsung Hall daily by everyone from Presidio Middle School Vocal above to Ruth Asawa School of the Arts World Music.
The only problems are the echoing acoustics of the high-ceilinged room and the scores of parents brandishing their mobile devices to capture it all digitally, a weird discourtesy to their performing children.
Outside Samsung Hall on the second floor, there is a display of student sculptures and ceramics, including a collection of handmade lamps from Mission High School which were fun and beautiful.
Downstairs in one of the light courts, surrounded by the Japanese pleasure quarter exhibit, Seduction, there is a strong exhibit of student art from around the city, including What Can I Say from grades 4-5 at the SF Community School, led by teachers Christy Bratt-Porter and Terycka Garcia.
Inside each painted/screened cardboard box is a card with typewritten text written by each student.
Politics was prevalent in the selections this year, such as Oppression above by Lowell High School 11th-grader Sophie Qin above, with teacher Kirsten Janssen.
This was especially true in the works from International High School teacher Eva Strohmeier's students. Noah Brown, Grade 12, had a pair of paintings called Drones that were disturbing and eye-catching...
...while 11th-grader Noah DeWald used watercolors in a brilliant evocation of the construction of a GMO Tomato.
Whether or not I Contact by 12-grader Will Brown has a political content, it was no surprise that the large, folding charcoal drawing was another one of Eva's students.
Teacher Tom Mogensen at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts was another standout. He mentored two great oil paintings, the Self Portrait above by 11th-grader Airi Miyajii and the beautifully evocative Sleeping by 11th-grader Justin Yee below.
The Asian Art Museum is essentially a free admission zone this week if you pick up a pass from the SFUSD table set up in the front of the building, and you can take in Seduction while you are at it.