Cubberley to host youth art exhibit

Anna Ghereghlou and Payton Anderson

Palo Alto High School photography student Hailey Kleiner is looking forward to seeing her painting, “Eyes” in the Youth In Art exhibit at 4:30 today at the Cubberley Community Center. The show will allow art programs across the Palo Alto Unified School District to come together to honor local student art. Despite a two-year stall as a result of the pandemic, photography teacher Kenna Gallagher said she can’t wait to see what will be displayed at this upcoming exhibit. “We’ve got 15 pieces from my classes in the show and tons of artwork from both Gunn and Paly, as well as the middle school and elementary schools,” Gallagher said. “We’ve got an entire top floor of one of the buildings that Cubberley packed full of art, it’s amazing.” (Photo: Hailey Kleiner).

The annual Youth In Art exhibit will showcase artwork from Palo Alto High School students from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at the Cubberley Community Center. 

As in previous years, the exhibit will display nearly 400 pieces made by a variety of student artists. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent creative work in the Paly community has shifted thematically to sickness and health, said Paly photo teacher Kenna Gallagher. 

“There’s always fairly consistent theming especially with art shows,” Gallagher said. “But definitely a little more in the past three years, heavier, more intense subject themes, have been arising.”  

The pandemic provided artists with a variety of emotions, but Gallagher said her students struggled to continue creating while online with only limited ways to showcase their pieces. 

“If you had taken Photo 1, and then you went into quarantine and were taking your second year photo virtually, there’s much less hands-on, if any at all, education,” Gallagher said. “Students were forced to use their phones for almost 100% of the photography class.” 

This lack of connection between artist and the experience of creating was a challenge for art teachers like Gallagher as well as the students. 

Paly sophomore Hailey Kleiner, a member of one of Gallagher’s photo classes, agrees that online school prevented students from expressing their creativity. Kleiner said that partaking in something like a gallery after not being able to for so long has inspired her. 

“After a year of isolation, I have learned to see art all around me, whether it’s natural or intentionally put together,” Kleiner said. “This has motivated me to capture these different forms of art that we see in our regular lives through pictures, and the Youth In Art showing allows me to reveal these findings to others.”

According to Gallagher, hosting shows to honor the work of local student artists is essential in building the Palo Alto youth-art community. 

“This exhibit is an opportunity to help those around us learn about different types of ways in which artists express their creativity,” Kleiner said. “Art allows us to share what we notice with others, which I think is really special.”