Student art installations brighten Conant halls

  • Front row (left to right): Senior Jessica Ocampo, senior Danny Madonia and junior Marianne Quinto. Middle row (left to right): Senior Claire Rosas, senior Hanna Kim and junior Zoë Bilicki. Back row (left to right): Senior Brandon Evans, senior Jeff Bolbot, senior Jimmy McLaughlin and junior Stephen Ly.
  • Senior Jessica Ocampo's art installation.
  • Senior Anna Styrczula's art installation.
  • Senior Jimmy McLaughlin's art installation.
  • (Left to right): Senior Anna Styrczula and senior Emily Rock.

Justin Bickus’s Digital Art Studio and Advanced Digital Art Studio classes have worked to brighten Conant halls with massive posters and intricate designs.

“The students had an assignment in which they had to create an art installation within the building that created some kind of discussion, commentary, or otherwise informed people,” Bickus said. He reported that the students first created their artwork, which revolved around the topics they had chosen such as social media use, student stress and environmental commentary, and then scouted out the school for desirable places to display their designs.

He hoped that the pieces had an impact on their viewers, “even if it means they’re just connected to the artist, visual, or experience for a moment.” Junior Marianne Quinto expressed that she wanted viewers of her artwork, which depicted children with their faces replaced with symbols of various social media outlets, to interpret their own idea of what message the art conveyed.

A dozen different students across both classes worked on individual pieces of art, which they had three weeks to conceptualize and create. Not all the installations were static, however; a few were based around videos and even a multiplayer interactive game.

“I have a lot of love for the friends that are in my life, and expressing how much they have helped me through my art, or my video project, was the top way I knew how,” said senior Emily Rock, who decided the best way to express her gratitude for her friends wasn’t via traditional art, but rather through making a video.  Unfortunately, due to technical issues, her installation was unable to be displayed throughout the school. She still shared her installation through social media, and stated that she was incredibly pleased by the emotions her friends showed towards her work.

Inspiration for the installations came to the students from a variety of other sources, including personal experiences. “During the summer, I went to New York City, and I saw many homeless people struggling every day,” said senior Hanna Kim, whose posters in the art stairwell spotlighted the plight of poverty.

Junior Zoë Bilicki stated that her project, a large poster near the auditorium revolving around the everyday stress students have to go through, was based on the fact that students are put in stressful situations throughout their high school experience. Bilicki added that she chose a poster for her design purely because it would look nice, and Scantrons with bubbles marked in, spelling the word ‘work’ on each one, was an addition suggested by her teacher. She wasn’t sure what students would think of her work, but she wanted to remind them just exactly what their motivations might be.

Bickus has said his desire for the showcasing of student art installations specifically designed to be displayed to be something not only that these two classes do, but that other courses do as well, “hopefully [as] an annual event.” Quinto agreed with her teacher’s sentiments, saying, “I have one more year to think about what I could do next, and possibly make it better.”

Chris Borro

Christopher is a junior at Conant, and a news and opinions writer. This is his second year as a part of the Crier. Christopher enjoys biking, hiking, badminton, reading, gaming, writing and playing in the school orchestra.

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