BY SABRINE BRISMEUR
After months of preparation, the National Honor Society (NHS) hosted their second annual Black History Month Art Gala on Friday, turning the cafeteria into an art gallery with dozens of creative works for the night.
“Our members worked really hard on this project,” NHS sponsor Dwayne Dixon said. “We’ve been planning this for three months, and there were times when I wanted to give up because of the stress. But when it came down to the last hour, our NHS kids came through.”
The Art Gala, taking place from six to nine, presented a variety of creative work ranging from literary pieces to photography, paintings, and collages. Propped up on easels, framed, or carefully hung, all the artwork reflected this year’s gala theme: unity and kindness. Paintings of clasped hands, collages of news headlines from touching world events, and drawings of Earth characterized a large portion of the gala.
“The art in the gala was truly remarkable,” junior Stav Sharoni said. “I didn’t know that there were so many talented painters in our school, so all the creative work really stood out. The messages and morals that they portrayed in their pieces are important and personal, so the fact that they were able to show their thought process in a physical form made all the difference.”
After perusing the gallery, students and parents headed over to the food line and stocked up on salad, pasta, garlic rolls, and chicken provided by local vendors before sitting down to enjoy the presentations. Students performed interpretive dance pieces, read poetry, and analyzed their art in front of a crowd of around sixty.
Congress debaters Zachary Perrotta and Bruce Glasserman put on a twenty-minute debate centered around whether the political party switch of the 1960s ever occurred, drawing laughter from the crowd at times during a tersely humorous cross-questioning period.
“Having a mic made it pretty difficult to move around freely and look at my crowd and at my notes,” Glasserman said. “But it was cool to debate for the gala because we were able to argue about a topic we were genuinely interested in, and [we] could educate a few people about something they may not have known about.”
But the most lively part of the gala was undoubtedly during the artwork auction, hosted by senior Max Mickenberg for the second year in a row. Embodying the role of a fast-taking auctioneer, Mickenberg’s witty remarks — “Think about how this beautiful painting just breaks your heart. Now think about how you’re about to break your wallet buying it!” — racked up dozens of purchases by the end of the night. All the money made through the auction and ticket purchases ($1 a person) was donated to the Wounded Warriors project, whose pamphlets could be found on all tables.
“The Wounded Warrior project is an organization that raises money for injured veterans from places like Iraq or Afghanistan,” Dixon said. “It helps soldiers that need medical or mental or financial assistance — Wounded Warrior makes it happen for them. Supporting our troops is something that we’re always focused on in NHS.”
“To be able to fund the Wounded Warrior project through auctioning art was a great way to help people out,” Mickenberg added. “It was just a fun experience as a whole.”
The night ended on a positive note, with three winners being chosen for their creative contributions to the gala. Winners chose between an HP Printer, Beats headphones, and a Kindle fire.
Junior Moira Kelly, who won first place for her ballpoint ink and acrylic piece depicting a portrait of Obama and the United States, decided on the highly-desired printer.
“I feel to have unity in this country, we must have not just respect for everyone, even if they are different, but dignity for ourselves and where we came from,” she said. “I believe that as our president, Obama tried to unify a nation that was sometimes divided and whether or not someone agrees with him, we should appreciate all he tried to do for this nation.”
A large cake and ice cream were provided by NHS after winners were announced, and friends and families congregated in the gallery to enjoy the music, dessert, and atmosphere before going home.
“I just thought it was awesome,” Principal Wendy Doll said. “It was an incredible mix of talent that really got the overall theme of unity and kindness through the civil rights movement and black history and celebration. The kids did an awesome job. It was great fun to listen to their debates, see their artwork, and watch the live auction.”
Moira Kelly, junior – Ballpoint and Acrylic – “Dignity and Respect”
Karina Blodnieks, senior – Poem – “Digression in the First Person”
Eve Siebert, junior – Watercolor – “Untitled”