As with almost everything this year, the Verona High School Creative Arts Festival had to be turned into a virtual version of what it normally is. While it may be simple to imagine putting art online, the VHS Art Department, more specifically Ms. McKelvey-McLaughlin, Mrs. Sciacchitano, and Mrs. Sherman, put in a lot of time and effort to ensure that their student’s artwork would be displayed. As these times are rather unprecedented, they had to team together to explore the best way to show off their students’ hard work throughout the year.
Mrs. Sherman, who has been leading the Creative Arts Festival for 29 years, will be retiring this year and was naturally disappointed that her final show would have to be online. After almost 30 years of doing the same routine each May, this new form of display was new territory for her and her art department partners, who agreed with Mrs. Sherman that “the show must go on” and so they took Mrs. Sherman’s 29 years of experience and channeled it into Adobe Spark.
Adobe Spark, a free online webpage builder, is how they were able to compile the vast array of art pieces submitted this year. Not only that, but the Spark webpage allowed for them to insert links to Youtube to view the One Act plays. In addition to the One Act plays, the website was able to encompass the Avant Garde literary magazine, created by Dr. Meyer and Ashley Baumgard, Emily Weisser, and Alex Newman. While there was a lot of information to throw into this one Adobe Spark webpage, this team of teachers felt that it was a reliable website, and the outstanding product seems to validate this belief.
Ms. McKelvey-McLaughlin and Ms. Sciacchitano both said they were happy to take on the extra work, but did notice that because work hours and home hours now blend together, their base of “colleagues” expanded from just their work partners. For Ms. McKelvey-McLaughlin, her 8 year old twin daughters, 4 year old son, and husband all became her 24-hour associates as she worked to complete this virtual museum.
The beautiful virtual festival created by these teachers is definitely one to remember. Mrs. Sherman acknowledged that nothing can ever replace the feeling of everyone being at the high school the evening of the festival, surrounded by peers, showing parents your artwork, face and hand painting your friends, performing in a play, or singing a solo the night of the show, “but it certainly was a new adventure!” These pieces of literary, theatrical, musical, and visual art, can and will be viewed by many people for a long time to come.
As the year comes to a close, the class of 2020 exits VHS, and Mrs. Sherman begins a new chapter of her life, the art work of these students was something that brought these three teachers together. Ms. McKelvey-McLaughlin and Mrs. Sciacchitano will miss their mentor and friend greatly next year, but were glad they got to partake in this team effort to showcase the art of their many talented students. With Mrs. Sherman taking pictures of the work, and Ms. McKelvey-McLaughlin and Mrs. Sciacchitano building the site, the job was a team effort that will stick with everyone for a long time to come.
Please click here to view this year’s work.