GREENFIELD — The Circle of Friends club at Greenfield High School hosted its second annual art show on Feb. 7, displaying student and community art that was for sale and up for auction.
Not only did they collect funds for their club to help students on campus, but members learned the logistics of setting up a gallery and handling payments for the art, much like a true art gallery.
“The club involvement is like a small business,” said David Alvarez, president of Circle of Friends. “They’re selling art and it’s preparing them for the real world when they have to sell real things. They know the value of money and the value of art.”
Greenfield High School teacher Teresa Torres said the art show instills a sense of pride among participants.
“It’s something that makes them feel really proud,” Torres said. “It’s a lot of work putting up, but I enjoy that they get to see their art displayed and that someone wants it.”
Kayla Lopez, a junior at GHS, sold a painting of sunflowers on a 34-inch by 36-inch canvas. She used acrylic paint with mediums to get the texture in the flowers, and while she isn’t a member of Circle of Friends, she donated when members asked her sister for art.
“That took a long time and I was stressing because it’s pretty big, one of my biggest projects,” Lopez said. “So my reaction to having it sold, I’m kind of sad to see it go, but in a way it’s good, I get noticed more.”
Alissa Garcia, also a junior, sold her artwork, a four-panel portrait of Spongebob Squarepants and friends done with paint markers and watercolor, but she said she had been more reserved about sharing her art in the past.
“Honestly, it makes me happy because 1 percent of people actually know that I draw in real life,” Garcia said. “I really don’t like people knowing that I draw.”
In describing her choice to draw the oceanic cartoon characters, Garcia said, “I really wanted to make something that defines me, and I just wanted people to smile when they see my art and laugh at it I guess.” She went on to say, “It makes me really happy that people like my art and that they smile every time they see it.”
Alvarez explained the club members acted as gallery staff, answering questions and guiding people through the displays if needed. They also conducted the silent auction as school staff, fellow students and community members showed up to browse the displays and make their purchases.
“We have them put it together and we also have them work here and help out so that way they get training,” Torres explained. “They learn pricing and later about bidding and making offers.”
She said problem solving and working with others to support a cause were skills learned by students during the process of putting the show together.
Torres described the artwork as beautiful but noted some students were shy about sharing their creations.
“It took a while to get some donations because some didn’t want to show their art. We had to push for it,” she said.
When asked how the community art was obtained, Alvarez said some were from people who brought their art and others did so after outreach by the students.
“They get inspired by the students here and want to do a good cause for them,” he said.
Torres explained the club members held presentations in classrooms and asked for art donations for the art show.
Alvarez said the art was not only made by club members or art students, but also included art by special needs students.
The money collected from art sales and auctions went to the club to be able to fund special events and field trips, or could even be used to help a student in need go to prom, according to Alvarez. He noted the club money can be used to help non-club members.
When describing Circle of Friends itself, Torres said, “We do presentations about bullying, we also pair students with our special needs students and also have them collaborate and become friends. Each of the students learns from each other.”
“We really want to change the culture of the campus and be more inclusive,” she added.