In the public eye

BVH Photography students feature artwork at the Bonita Museum and Culture Center

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Elie Cajes

AP Photography student and junior Sophia Morgan examines her featured photo in the Student Art Exhibition at the Bonita Museum on April, 8. Her piece showcases her dad’s best friend’s dog as a part of a pop color assignment.

Eiffel Sunga, News Editor

On April 8 the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center amassed a small crowd of students and their families admiring their work in the museum. Digital artwork by Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) Photography/AP 2D art and design students filled a wall in the museum. The students’ artwork is to be featured until April 29. 

“Once a year we like to highlight the work students are doing, so we’ll have an exhibition every April. It’s open to students who walk in and want to show their artwork, as well as series that are produced in schools,” Executive Director of the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center Wendy Wilson said. 

Along with the artwork from BVH, the exhibit featured art from Eastlake Middle School and High Tech High Chula Vista. Student artworks included photographs, abstract paintings, self drawn portraits, paper-mache sculptures and album covers with an accompanying playlist. 

“We have prompts throughout the year where students can turn in artwork. A lot of students also do community service here at the museum… [and] sometimes artists will come in and do programs,” Wilson said.

The student [exhibit] really shows that spirit of our imagination. Especially after COVID you get to see what students have been thinking about the past two years.”

— Executive Director of the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center Wendy Wilson

According to Photography/AP 2D art and design teacher Edwin Lim, the month of March and April is contest season for his students. He enters his students’ artwork into contests and exhibits as often as possible. For the Bonita Museum exhibit he explained that there was no specific criteria for what type of photographs were needed in order to be displayed. 

“For me it’s whoever has a good heart and is willing to go the extra mile to do it. You’d have to be brave enough to enter but everyone who entered got in, which is very rare so this is a great opportunity,” Lim said. 

Lim had begun preparing for the exhibit mid-march, at the beginning of spring break. He spent his break ordering supplies and asking students to send in their artwork. The process of ordering supplies, putting students’ photographs in picture frames and delivering the artwork to the museum was like “magic” he described, given that he had to outsource materials from Kentucky and Oregon. 

“It was meant to happen, they all came at the same time and made the deadline,” Lim exclaimed. “So I ordered [materials], I had my students assemble it in class and then I delivered it [to the museum].” 

Given the coordination was done by Lim over spring break, Junior Sophia Morgan was “pleasantly surprised” when she found out her artwork was being featured at the exhibit.

“Honestly, I had no idea,” Morgan said. “All of a sudden he just texted me and next thing I know he said it was going to be in an exhibit and I thought that was cool.”

Morgan’s photograph was a pop-color photo of her dad’s best friend’s dog. She submitted the photo for a class assignment at the end of last year. The dog featured was the only colored portion of the image while the background was black and white. Lim selected the students’ featured photos on the basis of  “fine art.”

“Fine art I define as art good enough for a museum. [I ask] Does it stop the universe? Do you look at it and say ‘woah this is a cool version of the universe’? Is it otherworldly?,” Lim explained. 

Although this exhibit was the first time Morgan’s art was displayed to the public in a museum setting, she has been recognized for her art in the past. Morgan manages a website that documents her artwork; it has won second best website in the Sweetwater Union Highschool District during the 2020-2021 school year. She has also won best black and white photo in her class.

“At first I was kind of nervous. I didn’t really want to come see it because I felt like it was kind of embarrassing,” Morgan explained. “But my parents were encouraging me to come because they thought it’d be cool.”

A similar sentiment is shared by Lim who says his goal is to, “bring the joy of art to these students,” Wilson shared that having gone through the COVID-19 pandemic, she realized the power of art to record a moment in time. 

“The student [exhibit] really shows that spirit of our imagination. Especially after COVID you get to see what students have been thinking about the past two years,” Wilson said. “In general, art documents what’s going on in a community and that documentation is really important.”