When Jacque Fabritz began teaching fashion and art design 10 years ago at Norwalk High, she was so impressed with the artistic talent of her students, she wanted to share it with the entire community.
“When I started here, the kids didn’t have a venue to display their artwork, so we decided to have a celebration,” Fabritz said.
Thus, the birth of “Artrageous” – Norwalk High’s annual arts celebration, open to the community.
At this year’s event held last week in the school’s new library, more than 300 students spanning every visual and performing arts division showcased their artwork. Students, family members and alumni strolled through “galleries” of avant-garde fashion designs, 3D-printed sculptures, six-foot paper mache Russian nesting dolls, along with photography and other visual arts pieces, while folkloric, steel guitar and orchestral musicians performed outside.
Culinary arts students completed their final exam for the year by serving hors d’oeuvres and desserts they prepared for a VIP reception prior to the event, and students modeling gowns and costumes created in their fashion design class strutted down the runway.
NLMUSD board president Jessie Urquidi praised the students’ efforts.
“It is wonderful to be able to celebrate so much of the creative work of our students, and this event gives the community an opportunity to recognize their incredible talent,” he said.
Some of the artists showed work completed in AP art classes featuring college-level curriculum. Others displayed projects they worked on as members of the school’s Art Club, which meets Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon throughout the school year, giving students longer blocks of time to work on large projects.
Many of the pieces gave a nod to this year’s theme: “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” such as a 3D-printed floating city skyline with miniature replicas of world famous skyscrapers from New York, New Jersey and Dubai, designed by senior and AP art student Donatie Santos. This is Santos’ fourth year participating in the showcase, where she exhibited more than a dozen works in various media. She plans to major in advertising and graphic design at Cerritos College.
“Art in our high school is very special to me,” Santos said. “In my freshman year, I didn’t know who to hang out with, but after I attended the first Art Club meeting, it felt like home.”
While some artists kept with the theme, others went in their own direction, as artists do. Senior Kristin Bayle’s sculpture of a black bird made entirely of plastic spoons appears to be rising out of the ashes. Bayle said she wanted to show how something ordinary, like a bird, made of ordinary material could be beautiful.
Interim Superintendent Ginger Shattuck said the arts are essential in teaching students life lessons.
“Arts education teaches the value of practicing to improve, collaboration and that there are multiple paths to approaching problem solving” she said.
Fabritz said Artrageous continues to grow each year.
“The wonderful thing about the arts is that it opens doors to so many different ways for kids to express themselves,” she said. “They’re all represented here.”
PHOTO 1: Norwalk High senior Donatie Santos and AP fashion and art teacher Jacque Fabritz with Santos’ painted dress.
PHOTO 2: Santos’ floating city skyline inspired by Empire State Building, New Jersey’s Willis Tower and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Hotel.