NHS student works in Festival of the Arts Show/ Credit: Luke Sokolosky

Last month the fine and performing arts department at Needham High School held its annual spring Festival of the Arts, a gallery showcasing student work. Each year, students, families and other members of the community are invited to view the galleries, which span the school’s hallways.

The Festival of the Arts has been a recurring event at the high school for more than 20 years. It showcases art from many different mediums such as painting, illustration, photography, ceramics — and musical and theatrical performances as well. 

“[The event] is meant to highlight all the hard work our students do over the year, highlighting their dedication and investment in the arts,” said NHS art teacher Shireen Yadollahpour, a key coordinator of this year’s gallery. “At the same time, it is also a chance for the community at large to witness and experience the breadth of offerings at the high school and be invited to see how their support has helped produce a program that students can benefit from on a variety of levels.”

The art department at Needham High offers a variety of 2D and 3D visual arts courses for students such as digital animation and photography. Students at all grade levels included work in this year’s gallery. “I think that I have had the most growth this year in being more confident as an art student and being more confident in writing about and showing off my work,” said junior Skylar Brooke, an advanced placement art student. “That’s something I have never done before, and I think that it’s really cool and exciting to show people what I’ve done because I’m proud of it.” 

Brooke also spoke about seeing her fellow students’ artwork. “I think there is something really interesting about knowing a person and then now knowing them as an artist. I think that part is really exciting as you can start to see the diversity in the community that you couldn’t really see before.” 

Even as the spring Festival of the Arts gallery comes to a close at the end of the school year, artwork from Needham High School students is still on display in places such as the Needham Free Public Library and outside the high school with this year’s senior mural project. 

“The arts provide students with opportunities to grow in skills that are necessary for our changing cultural and economic landscapes, as well as ways to gain self-confidence, self-awareness and self-worth,” said Yadollahpour. “At the end of the day, we want the students to feel valued and seen, so the more people that we can get in to see our students work and perform, the more the community has the opportunity to see how incredible they are. In my mind, I want their artistic voices to be heard by as many as possible.”

NHS student works in Festival of the Arts show/ Credit: Luke Sokolosky

Luke Sokolosky is a junior at Needham High School

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