Mt. SAC High School Art on Display in Campus Gallery

Students viewing art exhibit in gallery

January 25, 2023 - 04:33 PM

Inside of gallery with MECA student art. Update: With the exhibition, closed, please view Ambient virtually online.

Through this Friday, art created by students at Mt. SAC Early College Academy (MECA), the Dual Enrollment High School operated in partnership with the West Covina Unified School District, will be on display at the Diana Berger Gallery in the northwestern-most part of campus.drawing of woman/digital art of of a home in a bay

The exhibit is entitles Ambient and, according to 12th grader Lauren Pate's text for the program, it "illustrates a limitless environment and a community of imagination, in which each artist can experiment to their heart’s desire within the safety of their classroom."

painting of a familyAlthough students at MECA take both high school and college-level courses (taught by Mt. SAC professors), the art produced was made in high school level art classes, according to Phoebe Millerwhite, the Director of the Gallery.

“I was shocked,” Said Art Professor Dan Van Clapp, who brought his class over to view the exhibit. “What impressed me the most was the vast amount of techniques using different materials that you don’t normally see in high school.”Gallery walls with diverse MECA art

porcupine sculture with a bwl and art on walls in background“I think the students and their families didn’t know what to expect when they walked through the door,” said Millerwhite. “I think every family was blown away and were saying ‘I can’t believe it looks so amazing.”

Art professor Jason Ramos looks at the exhibit“Displaying it in a professional art gallery  makes you view the artwork differently,” explained Millerwhite. “And the students view their own work differently. It just changes everyone’s mindset.”

Dan Van Clapp with his own high school artworkOn the same day and completely by coincidence, as Van Clapp was unaware of the exhibit, he had brought a piece of art that he made in high school, to show his class to inspire his students. “I always use that piece for a demonstration for students starting out.” 

Genova Cruz, a Business Administration major in Van Clapp’s Life Painting class, was surprised the art was done by high school students. “Those kids are really talented. I hope they keep going.”Genova Cruz painting and viewing a ceramic piece

She was struck by the acrylic pieces, hung in layers, that gave the art a 3D effect. “I’ve never seen that technique. I was like “Whoa!”Different angles of an acrylic piece showing its layers

“That was an inspiration for this class,” said Van Clapp.

The multimedia room of the Gallery featured video produced by the high school/college students, as well. Video of student riding in car / Art students wathcing the video

Abstract art pieceMillerwhite said the “Abstract” pieces were recycled art and used cabinets that were being torn out of classrooms at the Academy. Millerwhite points to the wood of the cabinet that the abstract piece was painted on

Aneesa Yamin looks at two abstract pieces“A lot of the work is really clean looking and creative,” said Animation major Aneesa Yameen. A number of pieces were in the Anime style, which struck Yameen. “It almost looks like concept art, or the cover art for a story.”  Three Anime-style pieces

Kimberly Barbosa looks at the art

Administration of Justice major, Kimberly Barbosa remarked while looking at the pieces, “Back in high school, I couldn’t do that.”

digital art of a koi pondJulia Leon, a Plant Sciences major, was particularly impressed. “Seeing everybody do this,” as she gestures throughout the room, “is amazing.”

Pointing to a digital piece of a koi pond, she said, “They did this perfect. You can see the detail on the lily pads.”Julia Leon looks at the koi pond piece

“They all tell stories that I want to learn more about,” said Yameen.

Next week, the exhibit will come down and the Gallery will begin installing an exhibit by Roberto Benavidez, who was recently profiled in a front page piece in the New York Times Art section .A frog and a turtle sculptures

Millerwhite indicated that the MECA exhibit is now available as a virtual reality (VR) exhibit for online viewing

Dadaist pieceWhile there are no future plans for another MECA show, Millerwhite did indicate “I think this is going to become a regular thing. Winter is a perfect time to do this.”

Visit the Diana Berger Art Gallery on its website.