The pandas of Padua Academy took a stroll into Wonderland Wednesday night for the all-girl Wilmington private school’s Night of the Arts.
The annual event’s theme this year was “Alice in Wonderland,” but not every peice pertained to the classic tale.
Rather, each artist has several pieces on display that had different meanings and were made with the full gamut of materials, including charcoal, oil paint, pastels and pencils.
The two-hour event highlighted work from Padua’s Fine & Graphic Arts classes.
Senior Monica Grace designed the poster for the art show, and one of her pieces was particularly emotional. It was a framed case that had a bloody leaf, gun shell casings and a drawing of a woman with branches stemming from her hair, with one holding a baby in a cocoon.
“My great-great-grandma lived in Italy during the Holocaust, and she died in the bombing in Italy,” Grace said. “She died with her child in her arms right next to a tree. He survived, but she died.”
Her favorite piece on display, which tied into the theme of the night, depicted a young girl looking up at a distorted monster.
“I love the really great contrast between the black and the bold colors,” she said, adding that her favorite material to work with is oil paint because it’s smooth, blends easily and can be painted over if a mistake is made.
Grace’s grandfather was in the music field, and that creative gene stuck with her, as she’s always had a passion for art and hopes to go to college for fashion design innovation.
“I was nervous and excited for tonight,” she said. “I’m an artist, so whenever I create something I’m always thinking this or that could have been better, but just to put it out there and hear people saying they enjoy my work is a motivator for me to do more.”
Sophia Dempsey, a junior, said her favorite piece was a sketch of a Kazakh woman.
“It’s a nod to my own culture, since I was born in Kazakhstan but I never really connected to that,” she said. “I wanted to show a portrait of a stereotypical Kazakh woman because I thought it would be an interesting way to bring a little bit of my culture that I haven’t really acknowledged into my art.”
Similar to Grace, Dempsey’s love for art stems from her family history. “My grandma went to art school when she was younger, and so she’s always been very supportive,” she said. “I have a lot of her art as well, and I’ve always found that to be really inspiring to me.”
Dempsey just started using charcoal, and said it’s become a staple in a lot of her work.
She plans on pursuing a minor in art and a major in marketing in college.
“I always get excited and I think it’s cool that we can showcase our hard work that we put into all of our pieces,” she said. “I also like these events because I can view my other friends’ work and it’s awesome for other people to note your progress and see your friends’ progress throughout the year.”
Sophomore Jolie Chen included a drawing of bunnies that represent the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.
She said her favorite display piece was a sketch of what looked to be an ancient philosopher, although she joked that she just Googled a random statue.
She said it was her most realistic-looking piece of art.
“I like using anything but paint,” she joked, “as you can tell by the only single painted piece I have here.”
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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