‘A great rock for you is different than a great rock for me’: Eastern Star Gallery exhibit promotes ‘appreciation’ and ‘connection’


Photo credit: Rose Sarner

“Rock” is open to all students across grade levels and highlights a range of various types of rocks. According to Attie he hopes the Eastern Star Gallery will show students “something they have never seen.”

By Rose Sarner, Culture Editor

Filled with floors of sand, various colors, patterns and textures, the Eastern Star Gallery highlights “Rock” as their first exhibit of the 2021-2022 school year. According to art teacher and director of the Eastern Star Gallery, Chad Attie, the “Rock” exhibit aims to help students feel “grounded” as the school year begins and allows individuals to “reconnect” with both art and nature.

“During COVID-19 it became critical to just immerse yourself in something that was pure and organic and outside. For me, it was really important to stay grounded,” Chad Attie said. “Whether people realize it or not, that’s why they started gravitating towards nature. This is why I thought it was important to do the first show on something basic, natural and grounding. I felt it was something that was needed.”

This is senior Sara Morris’ third year on the board of the Eastern Star Gallery team. Due to COVID-19 and the shift to remote learning, last school year, the Gallery team adapted their role to producing artwork online for the Archer community. They highlighted student work with images and videos. 

“I think that people are just really excited to put things out and engage,” Morris said. “There’s something really special about being able to walk into a space and engage with art, opposed to just looking at something online.”

Junior Olivia Torrington has been a member of the Eastern Star Gallery team since she was given the opportunity in ninth grade.

“I always loved going to the gallery there were so many amazing immersive exhibits and I just wanted to be part of it,” Torrington said. “I wanted to create more of what I saw.”

This exhibit was inspired by Attie’s appreciation for rocks which started when he was ten years old. Attie has always been fond of collecting, observing and getting inspired by the unique textures, patterns and colors of different rocks. This exhibit highlights his personal collection of rocks in addition to the collection of one of his friends, Martha Barcach, a fellow rock collector and the West Coast Phone Editor at Time Magazine for 25 years.

“One of my desires was that you would come in here and be able to connect in a way you would if you were hiking in Joshua Tree or if you are in Big Sur,” Attie said. “If you spend the time actually looking and touching the sand on the ground or rock on the stand, something happens that can not be captured from a painting or a video. It is different.”

According to Attie and members of the Gallery team, art “communicates things that can not be communicated.”  

“I find this exhibit to be particularly meaningful because rocks are powerful and they represent a passage of time in a really beautiful way. Most rocks are millions of years old and they’re older than everyone we know and they’ve been here for so long,” Morris said. “There’s something so special to appreciating them and really seeing that history.”

The Eastern Star Gallery serves as a place for students to explore different aspects of themselves, share what is relevant in the Archer community and spark creativity within students. 

“My hope this year is that students can come to this place and use this space in a way that’s different from everything else on campus,” Attie said. “They’re going to get an experience here, that is hopefully going to challenge them, make them think about something they haven’t thought of and show them something they never seen.”

According to The Guardian, scientific studies suggest that art appreciation improves quality of life. A study conducted by, Art and Minds, a leading arts and mental health charity, revealed that 71% of people’s feelings of anxiety and 73% of peoples’ depression have decreased. Furthermore, 76% of participants said that their wellbeing increased and 69% felt more socially included. 

“I think that being able to incorporate art into your daily life is really important and the fact that anyone on campus can just walk into the gallery at any time to experience new ideas, see new perspectives on something and learn about something they hadn’t thought about before, is really important,” Torrington said. “Also, the fact that it’s so accessible is such a wonderful part about it.” 

According to Attie, art is not a part of enough people’s lives and the Eastern Star Gallery serves as a place for students to see the importance of art.

“I think art is communicating things that can’t be communicated. Quite objectively or quite literally in words and also things that evoke emotion,” Morris said. “An artist can put out something and have a certain intention, and somebody else can experience that piece of art and experience it in a completely different way than it was intended but it’s nonetheless still super impactful.”