Spring Arts Weekend Highlights Talented Members of the Graduating Class

From Saturday, May 4 to Tuesday, May 7, Vermont Academy hosted four days of VA artistic expression in the form of performances and art exhibitions. The art pieces of several talented members of the Class of 2024 were among the works presented to the greater community, stretching across mediums such as paintings, drawings, pottery, live performances, and more. This culminating show was especially indicative of the creativity they have channeled into an entire high school career.
The students in the Honors Advanced Art class whose work was part of the show were Cole Allen ’24, Sofia Bianconi ’24, Tony Gao ’24, Mac Knisley ’24, Abby Mellen ’24, Dane Mulverhill ’24, Bowen Xiao ’24, Khiêm Nguyen ’24, Sydney Palmiotto ’24, and Pinky Rasmussen ’24. Zoe Jacobs ’24 gave a presentation the following night that showcased her work in the Honors Advanced Music class. 

Artwork exhibitions found homes in corners of campus for the duration of the weekend through mid-May. Cole’s, Sydney’s, and Khiêm’s works were featured in Leavitt House. 

Cole’s photography exhibition, “Patchworks” was experimental, representative of his current state as a photographer, as he writes in his artist statement. His works featured an amalgamation of projects that evolved from idea to execution. He experimented with long exposure, light painting, instant film, and more.

Sydney’s collection of functional ceramics spanned four years of work, as it all started with a little red bowl she made in her freshman year at VA. Her works explore the joys that come with utilitarianism and how the art form reflects elements of her own personality and life.

The exhibition affectionately titled "Nhà," which is Vietnamese for home, belonged to Khiêm. Thus, his works invite one into his “home,” referencing his Vietnamese heritage and childhood, navigating his artistic identity in tandem. “I was more than happy to see all of my hard work pay off and how much everyone enjoyed it,” he said. 

The Nita Choukas Theater and Horowitz Performing Arts Hall were home to pieces by Sofia, Tony, Mac, Abby, Dane, and Bowen.

In a deep dive of femininity and religion, Sofia’s works aimed to critique the religious separation between men and women spurred by 1300s-era manuscripts. Through paintings and inked writings, she emphasized the strength it takes to be rooted in faith.

Tony’s collection of digital art, digital collages, and photography examines nature, himself, and the world around him. One portion of his exhibition, the one which he said he leaned into most, was his collection of the 12 bronze heads of the Chinese Zodiac, inspired by Chinese history, tying his background into his art.

“Biomes Unveiled: A Visual Journey Throughout the United States” was the name of Mac’s exhibition reflecting the diverse American landscapes he studied to create his works, inspired by photographer/environmentalist Ansel Adams and painter Robert Vonnoh. Mac used graphite, watercolor pencils, pencils, and oil pastels to create works using impressionism and realism.

Abby’s collection used oil paint, oil pastels, ink, paper mache, and clay to convey themes and symbolism directly aimed to accurately portray and represent the female perspective. She demonstrated contrasting feelings of negativity and positivity through color theory and utilized symbols like lilies and orchids to represent a deeper meaning.

Using explorative practices, ones that might not have once been familiar to Dane, he created a cohesive collection of pottery, each hallmarked with a distinct, yet varying image of nature and the forest. He pushed through hurdles of unfamiliarity to add these drawings to his ceramics.

Bowen’s exhibition, titled “Reconstruction,” featured several detailed digital artworks that wove modern narratives into classic works from famed artists such as Eugene Delacroix, Albrecht
Durer, and Michelangelo. His works challenge the viewer to contemplate the origins or inspirations behind each one.

Displaying her works in the Michael Choukas Skating Rink, Pinky’s collection of works is centered around grief and explores its five stages. Drawing from her experiences with loss, she channels her feelings into her pieces, hoping to offer her viewers an empathetic hand.

Zoe hosted her Advanced Music Presentation in the Nita Choukas Theater on Monday night, presenting the writing, producing, and singing process of her EP. “I learned to pull certain words that helped me articulate how I was feeling, and how to make the songs sound fuller through music theory taught by Mr. Cady,” she shared.

We congratulate the artists of the Class of 2024 for finishing their creative career at VA leaving a lasting impression on our community with their raw talents. Find images of their works and performances from Spring Arts Weekend here.
Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.