‘Art unites people’: First ever Visual Arts Fair celebrated in courtyard


Photo credit: Thea Leimone

Students observe artwork on display at the first Visual Arts Fair held in the courtyard at lunch. Two rows of clotheslines were pinned with student art ranging from photography to felt artwork for the community to look at. Senior Bess Frierson created this event to showcase all of the artwork that fellow students have created, whether they are in an art elective or not.

By Thea Leimone, Features Editor

Students make pinch pots at a table filled with clay, clotheslines are lined with photography, felt and drawings, Taylor Swift blasts in the courtyard and junior Georgia Erlich throws a wedge of clay on the wheel. This is Archer’s first Visual Arts Fair, where students, in art programs or not, were invited to share their art in any form for a community celebration during lunch.

Held on Jan. 21, the fair was imagined and organized by art student Bess Frierson (’22). She said she felt inspired after walking through the art hallway and realized how inaccessible the student art is to the majority of the community on the daily.

I wanted to bring [the art] up so that we could all see it in the sunshine,” Frierson said. “It was an incredible collaboration with ACA, who really got people submit and organized all the submissions — I reached out in a lot of different clubs who submitted their work and set up stations, and it all came together really nicely.”

For student presenter Mia Makower (’23), the fair was a way to display the art skills she has been developing since seventh grade. Through her paintings, she said art doesn’t have to be “consistent” and that it comes in a multitude of forms.

“Through art you can say things that not everyone can say through words,” Makower said. “So it’s easier to express yourself sometimes — I think showing the community that art can open doors to other things that just speaking or writing can’t [is important].”

Art featured at the fair included photography, painting, drawing, fashion design, sculpture, architecture and film. Student clubs were also invited to share how they incorporate art into their club missions. Senior Chloe Fidler chose to share her art from her Fantasy and Fairytales seminar class’ creative project.

“My goal is to show that English can be really fun, and every single class that we do at Archer can be really artistic, and it’s not just limited to textbooks and academia like a lot of other classes and other schools are,” Fidler said. 

As this was the first Visual Arts Fair, Frierson hopes it can be an event that continues annually at Archer. The goal of the celebration was for students to learn, share and experience art across grade levels and media.

“Everyone’s having such a wonderful time and I hope people feel very seen and feel like they can express themselves because of this,” Frierson said. “I’m going to be gone, but I do hope this is a tradition that carries on — I would really love it. If this is something that becomes an annual festival, and it keeps growing with time, I think the art students need to be celebrated in every way.”

Fidler said that the art that students are creating across all classes and mediums can go unseen, and that the fair was an opportunity to showcase this work for everyone to appreciate.

“I think art unites people,” Fidler said. “I think that when you see how talented and creative so many of your fellow Archer peers are, it elicits a lot of insights [and] conversations that you might not have normally been able to have.”