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Grosse Pointe Farms

Festival to showcase South High School artwork

March 13, 2013

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Grosse Pointe South junior Alana Hubbell focuses on her latest artwork during class at South.

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — The reflection in a self-portrait, the artistry that goes into crafting an African pot and the intensity of building a mystical Indian-inspired sculpture from raw metals are just some of what students poured into this year’s ArtFest.

South students view their annual ArtFest as their showstopper — their time to shine.

“It’s a big thing,” senior Amelia Rennell said. “My whole family comes. It’s like my sports games.”

ArtFest will kick off at 7 p.m. March 20, with an art awards ceremony scheduled for 8 p.m. in the auditorium.

“The awards ceremony is an amazing night with the kids cheering each other on as if it were a sporting event,” Ann Marie Aliotta of the Mothers’ Club of Grosse Pointe South said in an email. “The camaraderie and support they show each other is truly heartening.”

Then, the show will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. through March 22, with additional hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 23 in the Grosse Pointe South multipurpose room.

The public is encouraged to check out what the students have been working on this year.

“ArtFest is a unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements of all the art students at Grosse Pointe South,” Aliotta said. “The exhibit shows the amazing quality of art produced by South’s art-school-bound students, as well as every student taking art as an elective.

“Many students discover a new love and appreciation for art through the exposure they get in this exciting student-produced show,” she said.

Kit Aro, one of the school’s art teachers, said this event is a big deal, in that “it’s the one opportunity a year for the community and the school to see what our students have been creating.”

She praised the art students in the school for being creative thinkers who look outside the box to find the new right answer.

“That type of creative thinking is so valuable in the world today,” she said. “They’re smart kids who think creatively, not linearly.”

During ArtFest, Rennell is looking to show some of her drawing and painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture and graphic design work.

When it comes to choosing her favorite, she said it’s a tough choice because of the different mediums. However, she is looking forward to showing her portfolio of digital art and her large African ceramic pot.

“I’m super excited,” Rennell said, adding that it is especially exciting since she is a senior this year. “All your hard work (is) kind of coming together. It’s a great representation.”

She already received word that she will be getting several thousand dollars to attend the Center for Creative Studies in the fall, but she is hoping to hear news on a possible full ride to the school in the near future.

Junior Genevieve Hummer said one of her favorite pieces she is looking forward to showing is an acrylic piece showing her house highlighted by the shades of autumn.

“I love it,” Hummer said of ArtFest, adding that she enjoys looking at the pieces from all of the students in the show. “It’s great just to get inspiration from ArtFest.” 

Senior Erica Blondell, who will be showing some drawing, painting and ceramics pieces, said she also looks forward to seeing all the pieces from others in the show.

“I’m really hoping to see a lot of new things,” she said. “Every single year, people start coming up with some new stuff.”

The senior has her eyes set on art school in the future.

Like other students, she is looking forward to ArtFest, even though the work leading up to the big day can get a little stressful. The students feel some ownership in this show since it is their work and their show.

“It’s really big,” Blondell said. “ArtFest is like the biggest time of the year.”

Senior Abby Grobbel, whose specialty is drawing and painting, also is looking forward to seeing the drawings and paintings from other students.

“It’s really cool to showcase the art department, which doesn’t usually get as much recognition throughout the year compared to sports and music,” she said.

While she is not sure where she will be studying next year, Grobbel has her sights on possibly majoring in animal biology with a minor in art.

Senior Maggie Clement studies various forms of art, but she is looking to showcase her photography in the show.

“I get really excited about it,” she said of the show. “Everything, all year, is adding up to this. It’s stressful, but it pays off so much.”

Clement is also looking to attend the Center for Creative Studies this fall.

Junior Grace Martinez also feels the pressure — the crunch leading up to ArtFest.

Martinez is another student with several pieces in the show. During a recent class period, she wore a welding mask while working on some last-minute metal pieces.

“It gets really stressful around this time of year, especially when you’re working with different types of mediums,” she said, adding that they only have a couple of hours each day to work.

While the show is about the students, the teachers are getting some praise for their role in helping to mold young people into tomorrow’s artists and creative thinkers.

“The art teachers at South are so dedicated and have been committed to making the department the best it can be and giving the students all the opportunities possible, whether they want to pursue a career in the arts or just pursue art for their own enjoyment,” Aliotta said.

Rennell also had positive words for the teaching staff in the art department.

“Without the teachers here, I highly doubt I’d be where I am right now,” Rennell said.

ArtFest will also help the department with its last push to finish its new lab with computers for the students to use.

They have funding for 26 computers and a color printer so far, thanks to those who have donated to the cause through fundraising efforts. They need six more computers. While ArtFest is free to the public, donations given during the event will help fund those computers. 

“We’re really trying to get these last six computers that we need,” Aro said.

The art lab will need more items, so there are raffles, as well.

To purchase raffle tickets, visit

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