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Sarah Walston, Mari Goldberg use senior showcases as opportunity to prompt dialogue

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Senior Mari Goldberg stands next to her art during her senior showcase titled “Fragments.” Her show focused primarily on environmental and social issues. Photo by Logan Connors

As all soon-to-be Archer graduates do, student artists Sarah Walston and Mari Goldberg recently had their senior showcases. But, uniquely, both girls used their shows as an opportunity to comment on current societal issues.

Walston and Goldberg held their shows in Archer’s Eastern Star Gallery and Zimmerman Lounge, respectively, from March 21 to April 10.

Goldberg used her platform to bring matters to light that she is familiar with from her involvement as president of the Community Service Board.

“A lot of my art is based off of social and environmental issues that I’m passionate about,” she said. “I do a lot of community service so that’s how I got informed about some [of the issues].”

Walston used her art to explore her place in combating racism and providing allyship to people of color as someone who is white.

“It was called Exploring the American Monster and initially a lot of the pieces came from my AP art concentration,” she said, “where I focus on social issues and more specifically where I fit into society and my role in them.”

“I think just from the white artists that I’ve seen who have tried to talk about social issues are often unsuccessful because it kind of seems like they’re speaking from another person’s perspective but it’s not their own and that can become exploitive. So with this series I really wanted to focus on the self discovery and my personal experiences with sexism, what I’ve seen of racism and just trying to figure out what I can do about it and my place in it and understanding that,” she said.

Students observing Sarah Walston’s senior showcase titled “Exploring the American Monster.” One of Sarah’s goals for her art was to prompt conversation. Photo by Logan Connors

Walston hoped for the showcase to prompt conversation surrounding the issues her art targeted.

“I was really excited because the biggest goal of my art is to prompt conversation and dialogue about the issues I’m addressing, and I feel like people did that,” she said. “It was really exciting to see people react to it and see the amount of support that the Archer community gave me at my opening. Then to see girls post it on their Snapchat, it just felt really good that people were looking and talking about it and caring.”

Goldberg also wanted her audience to learn about the issues that are important to her from her art from her showcase titled Fragments.

“I wanted my art to be a way people can learn about these issues if they didn’t already know about them,” she said.

Both students discussed art’s importance in both the Archer community and in life. Goldberg accentuated the importance of using art as an outlet.

“I think art is a huge part of the Archer community,” she said, “I think that it’s an outlet for a lot of students to express their feelings or who they are and I think it’s an outlet for me in one way and I just want more Archer girls to use art and not just studio art but theater and whatever arts they are interested in to do that.”

Walston addressed the idea of art’s ability to provoke necessary conversation.

“I think that there are just so many discussions to be had with art,” she said, “and I think that we should try to expand that discussion as far as we can.”

Walston’s exhibit will encourage conversation again, now to the public.

Sarah Walston at her senior showcase titled “Exploring the American Monster.” Her next show will feature the same art, but now to the public. Photo by Logan Connors

Walston will be studying at the Rhode Island School of Design in the fall to continue studying art in college. Alum of RISD and Loyola parent, Donna Hansen offered Walston a gallery space Downtown to display her show, Exploring the American Monster after seeing her Archer showcase.

The showcase will feature the same art as her show along with additional pieces. The one major difference, her art will be for sale. The proceeds will go to HansonLA’s organization Support DTLA Arts.

Her show will take place on May 6 from 6 p.m to 9:30 p.m. at #1102 724 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014.

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