Exhibition Unites Artists to Effect Change

A new exhibition that features the work of 24 Masters art students and 22 local artists illustrates how beauty can appear in many forms: a summer holiday, self-reflection, or the repetition of patterns.

From painting and collage to photography and poetry, the interpretations of beauty are on view in the exhibition “Beauty As Fuel For Change” in the Wenberg Gallery in the Fonseca Center through February 17. 

The show is a collaboration between the students and artists who heeded the open call from Concerned Families of Westchester, a peace and justice organization. The group was seeking artists who could represent beauty to ignite new ideas and manifest positive societal change.

“The theme itself is about bringing goodness into the world by creating and sharing beauty. That is certainly a ‘power for good,’” explained Cheryl Hajjar, upper school visual arts chair. “Unifying the larger community through the arts is also a way of spreading goodness.” 

Using watercolor, colored pencil and soap water, Lisa Yao ’24 painted “Rebirth,” a piece she said “was first inspired by cell photos taken under the microscope. The pose of an infant in a mother's womb also enlightened me on the overall composition.” The chance to exchange ideas with professional artists was an experience that Yao could not pass up.

“Learning why other artists made their artwork about beauty and hearing stories of their artistic careers encouraged me to continue creating art with a wish to improve the world,” Yao shared.

Local artist Barbara King was inspired by the students’ work and knew right away she wanted to participate. Her mixed media paintings of white-on-white ribbon patterns are part of her use of “a ribbon as a visual symbol that can connect people to come together to support different causes.” King believes that “the concepts in this work add to the idea of the show to make a better world together through positive imagery.”

Susan Rutman of Concerned Families of Westchester is excited by the powerful outcome of the project. “The exhibit is incredibly uplifting and the cross-generational artwork provides a beautiful bridge of sharing light and hope that can ultimately harness positive change in individuals, communities and society.” 

“I am so pleased and proud that my students can see the value in their work and share it with the public,” Hajjar added. “They have important things to say, and their voices are as strong as the ones of the adult artists in the exhibit.”