Brigadoon, the 1947 musical by Lerner and Lowe, is set in a magical, enchanted village that rises out of the Scottish mist for a single day every 100 years.
That’s sort of what happened at Bedford High School last weekend.
Once a year – for about 10 hours on a Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday in early May — much of the common space at BHS is transformed by hundreds of works of art, at least one by every student in kindergarten through ninth grade.
The annual K-12 art show returned last weekend for the first time since 2019.
Visitors followed a self-guided chronological route, beginning with Davis School exhibitors in the athletics department corridor and culminating with seniors’ exhibitions — individual artistic clusters in the main lobby.
The exhibit featured a dizzying variety of media, from traditional paints and pencils and ceramics to Popsicle sticks, fabrics, and Legos. The displays lined both sides of the hallways, which also accommodated some strategically placed tables.
Each Davis School student’s artwork was labeled with the student’s name and grade. Along the route, the progression of new schools was apparent, with some three-dimensional pieces on display by second grade.
At the end of the hallway, visitors took a right and were greeted by a banner, “Welcome to the Lane Art Studio.”
Beginning with third grade, each painting, drawing, and sculpture was accompanied by an “artist’s statement.” And those were a subcategory all their own.
“It’s supposed to make you happy’ confident, and inspire you” explained the artist about her painting “Flower Rainbow.” The two artists who crafted a three-dimensional pirate ship explained, “It took us a lot of time. We never worked harder on anything.” Several other comment sheets emphasized the time commitment.
The variety of themes among the older elementary students ranged from Russia’s attack on Ukraine to a colorful abstract drawing called “The Great Scribble.” One group of boys designed a board game they called “Battle Ducks: Beaks of War.”
Greeting visitors at the middle school section was a collaborative sculpture of a Galapagos giant tortoise. Some individual projects reflected curricular components: a chessboard featured highlights from the French Revolution (including guillotines); “Stop Climate Change” was accompanied by this comment: ‘I want people to think about what’s going on in the world.”
A diorama was called “NYCity Inspiration,” for which the artists announced, “We are cardboard experts.” A wall in the rear section of the lobby presented giant facial portraits. Amidst works of art on the walls stunning in color and originality hung several fabric collages.
Also on display were several art pieces by students in the LABBB Collaborative.
The senior art majors’ projects in the lobby were unveiled at a reception Friday night, featuring live music. Each display included a notebook or cards for written comments and compliments, as well as a detailed explanation from the artist on technique, meaning, and philosophy.
“Art is a form of self-expression and to me is a form of healing that helps me profess and communicate my thoughts and experiences,” wrote Rachel Klein.
Toby Dumlao, whose panels were decorated with his cartoon figures, explained, “My characters are an extension of me, and in a strange way I am an extension of them.” Katelynn Sullivan presented a detailed explanation of the various artistic processes behind her eclectic display.
Tommy Gilarde’s theme was baseball, and featured some suggested new logo designs for BHS teams. His most powerful feature was a small-poster-size photograph of Jeff Hoyland, who for several years was a photographer ubiquitous at high school student events. Hoyland died from cancer in July 2020 after more than a decade of illness; the artwork featured a miniature array of some of his photos.
One of the most unusual senior artworks wasn’t even supposed to happen.
Audrey Leida’s table display featured hundreds of pieces of white ceramic, most of them fragments, arranged with symmetrical precision. The title was entitled, “Head of Orpheus – It Exploded.”
Now, you can check every resource, but you won’t find any references to this phenomenon, although Orpheus, the mythological musician, did die from decapitation.
Leida said the head of Orpheus was not only an end-of-the-year senior ceramics project but also part of her creativity and culture class requirement, which incorporates art, literature, or music.
“I wanted to make something big that I never did before,” Leida said. She started designing the head in March and brought it to the kiln at BHS for firing a few days before the show. The next day, “My teacher told me it had exploded,” probably because of air bubbles caught inside the material.
“I decided to still use it, to show people how hard I worked on it,” Leida continued. First she separated the pieces into five categories, based on size. The identifiable pieces, like an ear, formed the nucleus, and then the project moved outward. “I spent three and a half hours with tweezers, placing every piece down.
“I was devastated the day it exploded, but I’m very happy with how it turned out,” Leida said, adding that teacher Heather Falardeau “helped me through it.” There are even more pieces that didn’t make the final display, she said.
During the senior reception, and at visits with family Saturday and Sunday, Leida accepted congratulations and more than one reference to “making lemonade out of lemons.”
Oher seniors presenting exhibitions were Heather Anderson, Eva Boruchovich, Haley DiPerna, Keira Doyle, Kai Etringer, Narineh Gevorkian, Elise Harfield, Aurora Kong, Cynthia Li, Darla Norstrom, Adriana Panagiotou, Kathrine Surgay, Olivia Winter, Leah Wolk, Astrid Yerarfdi, and Ani Zildjian.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763
Faces in the Crowd