Art With Impact: Interpreting the “Dreams” of Andover Students Through Artwork

A variety of student-produced artwork following the theme of “dream” was displayed at the event.

Kian Burt ’24, Maggie Qi ’24, Anna Ohm ’24 observe the art at the exhibition.

Art With Impact, an event-based art club, held an exhibition last Friday centered around the theme of “Dreams.” Talented artists across campus were welcome to submit their artworks regardless of experience, providing a diverse collection of pieces showcasing different interpretations of the prompt. Art With Impact founder Michelle Chen ’24 provided insight into the selection of this theme and the underlying purpose.

“We wanted to make something broad, so everyone had something to submit to, but we also wanted to have striking art, so we felt like the ‘dream theme’ encompassed that. While a lot of the pieces here are more literally dream-like, as in sleep dreams, I feel like it’s also important to capture the dreams of Andover students, ambitions, hopes, so that’s kind of what I thought the exhibition could be about,” said Chen.

Artists utilized a broad range of artistic media to create these pieces. Chen, herself, gravitated towards oil paint, reflecting on how this familiar medium helped ground one of her multimedia art pieces. Her final fragmented painting symbolized the process of gathering the scattered pieces of oneself, reflecting the dreamlike state of trying to understand who she is.

“It actually took me months to finish because the middle is an oil portrait of myself, which is my preferred medium, and the faces around it, which are meant to represent your different selves, are all made out of colored plastic, cellophane, and they took me forever to cut and paste and organize and layer.” said Chen.

In addition to the sculpture, sketching, painting, pastels, and digital programs used to embody the theme, some artists utilized creative writing to provide more context and depth to their pieces. Attendee Jackson Slack ’26 shared his appreciation for a particular poem that accompanied a piece.

“I didn’t catch the name, but there was a poem associated with one of the pieces. It was a short poem, a couple of lines, and I thought it was very beautiful to read… The main thing I took away is to look and try and find the meaning of the painting, and it’s interesting how every single painting is different, and they all express different things. And that specific painting, the person used a poem to help get their point across which I really like,” said Slack. 

Although the gallery attracted many students to come and see the work, the limited space created slight challenges. Going forwards, attendee Marika Saito ’25 hopes that the next event can be held in a different room, and potentially showcased the artwork to art classes who might’ve missed the exhibition due to the overlap of Friday night events.

“I feel like maybe we should advertise this a little more, because it would’ve been cool to see everyone’s artwork regardless of if they’re taking an art class or not. And maybe also finding a bigger gallery space. I mean, this is also a gallery, but I feel like it would be a lot more special if we had a nice room for these paintings just to celebrate them. Also, maybe making it at an earlier time so that all students could come view the work together. Maybe we could even have art classes to come view it too,” said Saito.