Oceanside’s Art Club holds first art exhibition at Rock City Coffee March 6

Why art for teens isn’t just ‘nice to have.’ It’s crucial

March is Youth Art Month
Fri, 03/06/2020 - 8:15am

ROCKLAND—Oceanside’s Art Club President Jose Perreira wants people to know that art isn’t just a class at school. It is a necessary form of communication.

Perreira, a senior, founded the Art Club with his instructors, Lily Hyde and Jared Cowan when he was a sophomore.

The students in the Art Club are holding their first exhibition at Rock City Coffee with an opening reception, Friday, March 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. Proceeds from the exhibition, as well as an online fundraiser auction, are going toward a planned trip to New York City to broaden students’ art education by visiting galleries and museums.

“We got all of the artists from our club together and then opened the submission process to all students and then sort of went through this juried process,” said Perreira. “We probably had about 100 submissions and we decided what was the best of the best and chose 30 pieces and framed them.”

Most of the work is paintings, mixed media, and photography. One of the perks of being in Art Club is that some of the pieces in the show come from Club members themselves. Perreira has two portraits in the show; one for the fundraiser, and one, whose proceeds he will donate to Maine Immigration Refugee Services (MIRS).

“My art reflects elements of MIRS, so that’s why I want to support them,” he said.

That intent ties into what art really means to the students of Oceanside.

“Art can be a great tool for communicating social messages or any form of change,” said Perreira. “For me, I’ve always been interested in the intersection of media and the arts and how it’s used by us and on us in modern times. While I don’t know what’s in my future as an artist, what I’ve learned from this club and running this club is a real passion for communicating through art. Last year, I did a painting that was inspired by my grandfather, who was a Holocaust survivor. He came to the U.S. as a refugee at age 20. If it sold, I was going to donate the proceeds to a local charity here in Maine. I realized by doing something like that, art has a lot of potential, because its use goes far beyond the buyer and can help other people.”

Hyde added, “My goal as a teacher is to create a lifelong appreciation for the arts for these students, so they will always feel comfortable being able to walk into a museum, to talk about art with others. And being able to be passionate about making art even if you don’t consider yourself ‘an artist.’”

New York City Bound

“We budgeted for 15 students and teachers to travel down to New York City for two nights, but right now, the goal is a bit out of our reach,” said Hyde. With the goal in placee, but not necessarily the funding, the Art Club researched alternative ways to make the trip happen. “We talked about maybe instead of staying in a hotel, staying at Columbia University, and to check out their school and their art program while we’re there,” said Hyde.

“I think traveling to New York City will just open up a whole new world of inspiration.”

-Art Club President Jose Perreira 

Perreira said that last year, the Art Club was able to visit Boston and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

But, this year, the student’s sights are set on New York City. 

“Most people I know in Art Club have never been to New York City; most have never been out of Maine,” he said. “I’ve been there many times; my mom’s from there. It’s such a thriving metropolis, that people in our Club will be encouraged to see that there aren’t just working artists in Rockland, there are also tons of them in New York City.” 

The Art Club’s goals would be to visit multiple museums and major art galleries, as well as art schools such as the Fashion Institute of Technology and the School of Visual Arts.

The Rock City Coffee exhibition will be up indefinitely and many students whose work is in the show will be present at the opening reception for any questions and conversation.

Beyond the opening night, the Art Club is hosting a two-week online auction starting March 6 and closing March 20. Local artists, businesses, and organizations have donated gift certificates and original works of art for the online auction. For more information, or to be added to our email auction list, contact lhyde@rsu13.org 

Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com