A Surreal Reality: New student Carmel Arts Council curators to create an art gallery with CHS artwork


Da-Hyun Hong

Senior Jessica Qu and junior Minjeong Kim point at a particular piece of artwork. Qu said she applied for a curator position because she is interested in art and design.

Grace Xu

While teenagers are often  stereotyped as rash and shallow rather than inspirational and profound, two students at this school are reversing that stereotype through a meaningful art showcase in partnership with the Carmel Arts Council (CAC). Senior Jessica Qu and junior Minjeong Kim are the 2019 CAC curators and will be curating an art gallery filled with CHS student pieces centered around themes of surrealism and reality in the CAC Children’s Gallery located in downtown Carmel. The event lasts from July 12 to Aug. 25.

Qu and Kim said while the official theme is yet to be finalized, they have a strong idea based off of a quote from Picasso, and hope the theme will provide loose but profound guidelines for which art pieces they will pick for the gallery.

“The quote is, ‘Everything you can imagine is real,’” Qu said. “We think that it would tie in really well because we’re working on brainstorming on a theme before we even get to see the art that we’re going to choose from, so we’d like to choose a theme that’s broad and inclusive. We don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, you’re not a good enough artist (to get in) just because you don’t fit within our theme.’ So we wanted to choose one that is both special and profound, but also one where we can include a variety of artworks.”

Kim added that they purposefully chose an open-ended theme for more freedom when choosing the artworks to showcase, allowing them to show the various creative realms of art, everywhere from “lots of different kinds of mediums” to “different ages and types of artists,” as Qu put it.

“We’re very open about this,” Kim said. “We would like to have a variety of art forms, artworks, many kinds of artists. We’re really open and willing to take any kinds of artworks right now, and in order to do that, as Jessica said, our theme right now is pretty broad. We don’t want our theme to limit the quality of artwork.”

Art department chairperson Jen Bubp said that the theme of the gallery was a large aspect of what made it unique, especially as it allows for high schoolers to showcase their inner thoughts.

“I think it’s just good for the community to see the pulse of what’s happening at (CHS) in general,” Bubp said. “But then, this show adds a much deeper meaning because of the theme. As people really look at what students are creating, it does really change from year to year. Obviously, what happens in pop culture and the media and every other avenue is going to affect what students are thinking about as they create art, so I think (the gallery) just gives the community a really good glimpse into the hearts of the artists here in this high school.”

Bubp added that the CAC curator program is aimed not only toward showcasing art from high school students, but also

Da-Hyun Hong
The CHS spring art gallery is set up in the commons displaying a variety pieces by students. Both senior Jessica Qu and junior Minjeong Kim said they will be choosing artwork from the gallery to display in their curated art gallery located in the CAC’s Children’s Gallery.

toward providing high school students a leadership opportunity in being able to choose the art to showcase. Qu and Kim were selected as the CAC curators for 2019, and they both expressed gratitude for being given the chance to bring the art and thoughts of CHS students to the greater community.

Qu added that she originally applied out of her interest in art, and working with the CAC on the art gallery has been fulfilling so far.

“Art, I’ve always found interesting throughout my whole life,” Qu said. “This is just such a cool opportunity. Where else am I going to be able to get an opportunity like that? Also, I looked at the essay questions (in the application), and they were intriguing. I was like, ‘This is something I actually want to write about and not do my other homework so I can concentrate on this.’ To take on a responsibility that you actually care about is fun, as opposed to other things you might consider work.”

Bubp said she has full confidence in both Kim and Qu, and that this program was an invaluable opportunity for high school students and the community alike.

“I love that idea of high schoolers being the ones to bring the art to the community,” Bubp said. “It gives you real-world experience, and for a lot of our students who have that passion for art and art history, it gives them a very relevant learning application of what they’ve already been discussing in their classes, and giving them truly that first taste of what a possible career option could look like.”

In the end, Qu and Kim both said they hope their gallery will be able to showcase the abilities and thoughts of CHS students to a greater audience, as well invoke inspiration from viewers.

Qu said, “We want a theme where people can walk away from the gallery saying, ‘I’m inspired and now I want to make art.’”