Youth Arts Festival features students’ nature pottery

Originally published on May 29, 2015

Eight of the fifteen pottery pieces created by the school’s ceramics students. Photo courtesy of Maria Rode

Illustrators, graphic designers, painters, costume designers, you name it. They all color the world, but they have to start from somewhere. Fifteen of Lowell’s ceramics students had their artwork displayed at the Asian Art Museum’s tea exhibit, and the annual San Francisco Unified School District Youth Arts Festival, an event that inspires up-and-coming student artists to pursue artistic careers.

The Youth Arts Festival is a week-long festival, this year from February 28 through March 8, that celebrates students’ talents in the arts. The festival features exhibits displaying student artwork and live musical and dance performances. It travels all over the nation — last year’s festival was held at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. The Youth Arts Festival was started in 1987 by the San Francisco Arts Commission, SFUSD, the San Francisco Fine Arts Museum and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department because of the success of its predecessor, the Adults Arts Festival.

“Artwork doesn’t have to be fancy. Anything can be interesting or beautiful in its own way.”

Before this year’s festival, the Asian Art Museum asked Rode if her students had pieces of art that they wanted to submit that fit the theme of nature to be displayed at the festival. Administrators of this festival had seen artwork made by Lowell students and wanted to include them into this year’s Youth Arts Festival. Rode submitted many pieces and staff from the festival chose pieces that fit this year’s theme. This year was the first year that students from Lowell had their artwork displayed at the Youth Arts Festival.

In addition to the Youth Arts Festival, two of the fifteen pieces from the students were also featured in the Asian Art Museum’s tea exhibit, which is much more compact compared to the Youth Arts Festival’s exhibits.

Junior Skyler Tang’s nature themed piece. Photo courtesy of Skyler Tang

Junior Skyler Tang modified a tea basket made out of wood branches, which was displayed at the festival after she had made it for a ceramics assignment. She added some features to make the piece more nature like. “Since this year’s theme was nature, my inspiration was to use a tree branch as the handle and I molded the basket,” Tang said. “There are leaf designs around the handle and in the basket to enhance the feel of nature.”

“Wabi-Sabi was the inspiration for this piece.”

Sophomore Josephine Wen transformed something that had little value and quality into a piece of art. After she had found a neglected bowl in a corner of the ceramics classroom, she decided to create art with it. “Wabi-Sabi was the inspiration for this piece,” Wen said. Wabi-Sabi is a Buddhist way of looking at things for what they are, at the imperfections of life and embracing those impurities.

“Artwork doesn’t have to be fancy. Anything can be interesting or beautiful in its own way,” Rode said. “You do not need to go searching for art — art is in front of you and it is beautiful.” All of the pieces that were displayed at the exhibits had these ideas implemented into them.