On November 14, the Numina Gallery opened its first show of the year, exhibiting student photography under the theme “A Year in Four Seasons.” Encouraging students to communicate their thoughts and feelings through submissions, Numina has a long tradition of allowing for expression through publicly-displayed artwork—each year, it holds at least four shows featuring different types of art. This year’s photography show, the first in two years, featured not only photographs, but also literary supplements—poems, songs, and short stories—that assisted in conveying the messages and emotions behind contributors’ pictures.
Although English teacher Scott Cameron is the current advisor of the club, John Kavalos, who teaches Studio Art 2D and AP Art History, was the original advisor when the club was founded in 2000. “Most people … assume that the production of art is the key to the art world, and it’s not—it’s about 20 percent,” Kavalos said. “There is so much more involved in the creation of art and the art world.”
Kavalos said having an in-school gallery was an important step in enhancing students’ knowledge of how the real art world works because it displays art in a formal setting. Similar to a real-world gallery, Numina displays art from several different mediums, including student paintings, video projects, and sculptures.
In order to receive the maximum number of submissions for “A Year in Four Seasons,” photos were accepted from all students in the school. “The show will include [work from] PHS students who submit any kind of photograph,” said Cameron. “This year, we are hoping to have poetry readings and live music during our opening.”
By incorporating written pieces into the exhibit, the club hopes to attract a wider group of viewers and expand the show to better meet audience interests.
For viewers of Numina shows, interpretation of the displayed works is a major part of the experience. “How everybody interpreted the same project in different ways … is really cool,” said Ariana Tartaglia ’16. For Tartaglia, being able to view other students’ work and appreciate what they make enhances the experience of going to the gallery.
As this was the first photography show in a few years, many had the chance to experience this field of art for the first time. “I [wasn’t] a part of Numina [when] it had the [last] photography show,” said Stefan Pophristic ’17. “I’m really excited.”
As part of Numina, Pophristic contributed to the setting up of the gallery a week before the show, which allowed him to appreciate not only the artwork, but also the work that went into creating the show.
Three more shows will take place this year in late winter and early spring—a district show, which will feature art from schools across the district, a stamp show, which will feature stamp collections, and a student show. The final show of each year, the student show, displays artwork from all PHS art students and features art by seniors. “Seniors still get to submit more art [to the student show],” said Alana Chmiel ’15. “I’m excited that I’ll get to put more pieces in.”
Students enjoyed the artistic independence displayed, and thought the show was executed well. “The photography in the show really represented how talented all of the students are at PHS,” said Julia Ward ’16, who attended the show. “All the photos submitted into the show were all submitted freely and not chosen by any art teachers. This shows how interested and excited students were to share their work with the Princeton Community.”