Student artists showcase artwork at local cafe anniversary

Student artwork displayed at Kitty Brew Cat Cafe’s five-year anniversary on April 9, 2022.

Ava Yungbluth | The Chronicle

Talented artists at Mason High School were given the opportunity to showcase and sell their original pieces of art.

On April 9, 2022, an anniversary gallery art show at the Kitty Brew Cafe was put on through a partnership between the cafe and the National Art Honor Society (NAHS). The gallery allowed art students at Mason High School (MHS) to display and potentially sell their projects to members of the community, and although students could have chosen to merely display their pieces to the community, some chose to sell them. In fact, a total of 17 pieces had been sold by the conclusion of the showcase.

MHS art teacher Dan McKay said that NAHS strives to have students channel and utilize their artistic abilities into projects that directly impact the community, and half the money raised at the showcase goes towards future NAHS projects. McKay said that the showcase aims to give as many young artists as possible the chance to influence the public through their artwork.

“[The showcase helps] fund some of the mural work we do; like painting the rock and getting supplies for that, and different artwork,” McKay said. “We look for opportunities to use art to serve the community [and] take the skills they’ve acquired, and leverage that in a way that benefits everyone.”

Senior Maya Rao, the Public Relations Officer for NAHS, organized the event after having experience volunteering at the cafe for their past four years of high school. They pitched the idea of a partnership for the cafe’s anniversary to the owner of the cafe, Jenni Barrett, and got to work as soon as possible. Rao said that they saw the partnership as a pathway to bridge two events that would promote the recognition of not only the cafe’s fifth anniversary, but also NAHS as an organization of a plethora of artists with differing passions and concentrations.

“As an artist, I’m always looking for ways to get my art out there and to have my art be shared with others,” Rao said. “I know a lot of other artists our age feel that way.”

Rao believes that sharing artwork with others is a necessity for all artists, and that art shows provide a crucial physical constant in displaying their talents and abilities. Rao said that showcases additionally provide feedback on their work and is a factor that can serve as a motivator for artists.

“Making sure to share it with the community gives you perspective on what’s out there,” Rao said. “It helps give you feedback, both positive and negative, so you can keep working on your art.”

Participation in the art show was not limited to just members of the NAHS. Senior Meriele Green was the top seller of the event, having sold six copies of her watercolor painting that captured her sister’s cat. Green considers herself an avid artist, and although she mainly takes digital image design (DID) classes, her primary medium of personal work is watercolor. The anniversary gallery gave her strongest area of expertise recognition, and Green said that she was grateful for the freedom and lack of rules she had to follow when creating.

“Art classes usually have a specific set of guidelines,” Green said. “There’s a rule set for what you have to make. Whereas when you’re just making things, that’s a lot more open ended that allows for a lot more creativity.”

Rao sees any response to artwork as something to be grateful for, and said being able to see the community, or individuals emotionally respond to pieces is a “gift.” Rao said that the aspect that they like most about art is the way anyone can receive it, in a variety of different forms.

“My motivation to create art is to make other people feel a certain way, whether it’s happy or sad, or making them question some sort of cause or situation,” Rao said. “I always want to make sure that my art is invoking something in another person.”

Photo by Alisha Verma