Art 600 Students Explore Creative Freedom With New Gallery “On the Mend”

Valencia Zhang ’25 and Amy Oku ’25 explore Pema Sherpa ’23’s interactive artwork.

Pictured above is a piece created by Keira Harder ’23.

Culminating the year’s work, Art 600 hosted an exhibition titled “On The Mend” on May 12. Lasting over an hour, the exhibit welcomed families, students, and teachers to view the Art 600 gallery and learn the stories of each piece directly from the artist. Nor DeHoog ’24 shared the challenge of putting every person’s work into one gallery.

“All of our work is created individually, so at first, it didn’t seem like there was that much overlap. So we spent a lot of time figuring out what pieces from the entire school year that we wanted to put into the show, and how could everyone’s work play off of each other, so how would it be a cohesive feeling in the gallery space,” said DeHoog.

Throughout the class, a plethora of mediums were used to create their artwork. Carly Hopkins ’24 created paintings and cyanotypes which were a reflection of the intersectionality between her maternal lineage and her Greek heritage. She commented on why she loved the class this year and how it was conducive to her creativity.

“I love Art 600 because of the people. My peers and instructors have fostered an environment where creativity can thrive and students support each other,” said Hopkins.

Additionally, not only has Maggie Qi ’24 been able to explore new artistic mediums, they have also gained artistic freedom by taking Art 600. They described the class as having few boundaries, which encouraged students to express their personality and further their creativity.

“I love Art 600 so much. It’s very different from the other art classes I have taken at Andover because it’s an independent project class. We have these general vague assignment topics, so we are able to use whatever material, approach it in whatever way we want… What I love about Art 600 is that everyone comes up with their own art experience, style, and their own materials that they would like to use. Everyone’s art can end up very different even if they’re all from the same general prompt… The teacher is there if you need it, but it’s mainly just space for you to do your own art,” said Qi.
Valencia Zhang ’25 attended the exhibit. She noted how inspiring it was to see all the artists balance their school work with their creative side.

“These are Andover students. At the same time, in their classwork, [they] explore themes that they’re passionate about. I think that’s so unique, which sets them apart from other art exhibitions I have gone to, which are by professional artists. It hits harder because I know these are students who are still exploring. They have not done this a lot… and for a lot of them, this is their first time setting up their artwork for people to see, and being able to see them dressing up in nice outfits and presenting their work makes me feel a sense of pride, even though I don’t know most of them personally,” said Zhang.

Attendee Lydia Mechegia ’24 also expressed her gratitude for the event. She specifically enjoyed speaking to each artist and learning about the backstories of their pieces.

“I was so inspired by the incredible talent of the artists, and it was super cool to see the different ways in which they interpreted the theme. I was especially impacted by hearing from the artists, what inspired them to create what they did and how it connected to their backgrounds. Everything just felt very genuine and individual, which really resonated with me,” said Mechegia.

Editor’s Note: Valencia Zhang ’25 is a Business Manager for The Phillipian.