2021 JURIED HIGH SCHOOL EXHIBITION
Each year, the annual SIUE Juried High School Exhibition features some of the most outstanding artwork being made by young adults in the St Louis metro area. The 2021 Exhibition features nearly a hundred works, selected by our juror from nearly 40 regional high school art programs.
This Year's Juror
Phillip Finder is a ceramic artist and currently an Associate Instructor of Art & Design at Maryville University. He studied industrial design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, before earning a BFA from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and an MFA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Phillip works out of his home studio in Compton Heights, St. Louis, MO. You can find more of his work at www.phillipfinder.com
First and foremost, I want to applaud all of the artists who submitted work to the Annual Juried Regional High School Art Exhibition. With more than 200 entries, it was clear the submissions represent a full spectrum of personal explorations within a broader cultural context, all while exemplifying an impressive command of craft that each medium requires. How refreshing to see so much energy, passion and talent flourishing within our local communities.
Like many facets of our lives, this annual exhibition was too affected by the global pandemic, and for the first time was moved to a virtual format. While I would have loved to engage with and respond to the minutia of each submission beyond what a photographic representation can offer, let us instead celebrate how a virtual format has lead to a much broader degree of participation. It is my hope that this year’s format has softened the edges of vulnerability that young artists often feel when offering up such intimate work to the public, and will encourage them to continue to do so.
On that note, I felt it was worth mentioning the palpable sense of emotional response to the challenges of living through a pandemic when looking at the submissions as a whole. Unique symbols of life today abound, as well as representations of stress, exhaustion and loneliness. These artworks validate the universality of these feelings that many of us experience independently and help to bring us together. Many of the submissions were exceptions to this broader tone, and illustrated a brightly positive and optimistic expression. Indeed, these artists are continuing a tradition and practice of responding to their world, and filtering it through their unique lens for us to consider.
Thank you to everyone who submitted artworks, and to their teachers for guiding them. Thank you to the SIUE Art & Design as well as the SIUE Friends of Art for providing the awards.
-Phillip Finder, MFA