Art exhibition goes virtual

Art students get to showcase their first semester works online


Student artworks are categorized by art media and published on the website

The 2020-2021 Winnetka and Northfield Student Art Exhibit is taking place online this year instead of in the Brierly Gallery at Winnetka and B-lounge at Northfield like a typical year. 

At the end of first semester every year, the Art Department holds a student exhibit showcasing work from all of the art classes. Art Department Chair Alicia Landes said the change to an online form was the best decision considering the circumstances in the school. 

“This is the first year we have had a virtual exhibit due to Covid. The Brierly Gallery is being used as a Zoom room this year and limits the amount of work we can show.  Also, students are unable to roam the hallways and gallery spaces, so we decided to go virtual,” Landes said.

Technology can introduce works to a wider audience, but can never replace the atmosphere of actually seeing the work in person”

— Alicia Landes

With teachers still receiving and choosing student submissions, the selection process remains the same. However, both teachers and students recognize that there are certain pros and cons of a virtual art exhibition. 

Freshman Christina Harris said an online exhibition would be easier on both the student and teacher because the submission process and the viewing of the exhibition require less commitment. 

“With online exhibitions, students only have to send in photos of their art as opposed to bringing in something that may be fragile. Since everything is displayed online, family members and friends can look at students’ artwork without going to school. It also makes it more convenient and would allow people to look back at the website whenever they wanted,” Harris said. 

Art teacher Rachel Tag expressed that not only is an online gallery safe and accessible for the audience, it also has other advantages as well. 

“The exhibition can be enjoyed by those outside of our region and can exist online for much longer than a traditional gallery exhibit would. Another advantage is that unlike a gallery, there isn’t a danger of running out of space, either on the walls, or in the sense of physically distanced viewers moving through the gallery space,” she said. 

Freshman Brianna Wylie acknowledged the advantage of having less time commitment but noted that the artworks could seem less enjoyable and less impressive. 

“The online gallery is very convenient in many ways, but I think that any material art, such as paintings, should also be displayed physically as an option for viewers because the quality would be much better,” Wylie said. 

Landes agreed that an in-person exhibition would be better for showcasing the artworks and giving viewers a better experience. She said that there is a loss of detail online where the viewer can’t take in the material nuances like texture, brushstrokes, and actual color.

“Seeing work in person and online are two very different experiences.  Technology can introduce works to a wider audience, but can never replace the atmosphere of actually seeing the work in person,” she said. 

With the mix of advantages and disadvantages of having a virtual art exhibit, Landes suggests a new idea of hosting the art show that would combine the strengths of both an in-person exhibit and a virtual one. 

“Even if in-person, there is the possibility that we share the exhibit virtually too.  This way persons unable to attend would be able to see the exhibit from the comfort of their own home,” she said. 

Tag has high hopes for the exhibition to be successful whether it is in-person or online. 

“I’m confident that regardless of how or where the work is displayed, it will continue to be an opportunity to celebrate the amazing artwork that our students are creating in our classes, as well as the innovation of our teachers and staff,” she said.