Art event highlights school’s ‘wonderful minds’

lpemberton@theolympian.comMay 27, 2013 

About 300 students and parents gathered last week for Arts Recognition Night, a nearly 20-year tradition at Capital High School.

The event included performances by the Olympia school’s jazz band, chamber orchestra, choirs and theater students. There also was an art show that featured woodworking, metal art, ceramics, mixed media, paintings, photography, video, poetry and architectural drawings and models.

“Every year, the show gets a little bigger,” said Capital parent Lucy Gentry, who helped organize the event. “This is a showcase. … It helps with our funding by keeping (arts) on the forefront.”

The program included recognition for band, choir and chamber orchestra students on their successes at regional and statewide contests, such as the Washington Music Educators Association’s State Solo and Ensemble Contest. In addition, awards such as “Best Actor” and “Best Tech” were given to theater students.

Sophomore Jack Bleich, 16, said the evening was a celebration of “things that touch the heart, mind and soul.”

“Sometimes I can be sort of critical of my peers, but when I look around I can see the wonderful minds around me,” he said.

Sophomore Ryley Tucker, 16, agreed. “I’m just really enjoying seeing all of the art that’s here,” she said. “It’s kind of amazing.”

The event’s big winner was senior Lauren McCann, 18, who won “Best in Show” for India ink paintings of people she interviewed during her culminating project on homelessness.

“I was very surprised,” she said. “I didn’t realize there was such an award, and I’m honored to get it.”

While researching her project, McCann met “Breakfast at Sally’s” author Richard LeMieux during an event at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey.

“I asked him if he’d come speak at my school,” she said.

McCann also worked to get LeMieux’s book, which is a memoir of his experience with homelessness, on the district’s approved-reading list.

Not only did he speak at the school, LeMieux donated a full classroom set of his book, so teachers can use it in their lessons. “Originally, I hadn’t planned it to be this big,” McCann said.

Although she hasn’t had formal art training — there isn’t room in her schedule with a heavy academic load — McCann said she enjoys sketching and painting and was happy that she could be involved in the show.

“I think it’s great that Capital is putting all of this effort into celebrating the arts,” she said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433

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