Viva City gives students a taste of being professional artists


Norah Scholl

March 21, was opening night of the gallery showing the art of high school students from all of Minneapolis Public Schools. The showcase is part of the MPS district wide Viva City Fine Arts Festival and is open to the public in The Minneapolis Central Library, Cargill Hall through April 29th. Eight South students were featured in the show getting the chance to experience being in a professional gallery.

Talula Cedar-James, Staff Writer

Now in its 23rd year, the Viva City Fine arts festival gives a chance for Minneapolis Public Schools to showcase the works of their students. Nora Scholl, K-12 arts district program facilitator for MPS said, “It’s here to honor the work that [students] do and display it for the broader community and also highlight the work of our teachers and our communities.”

The district-wide event is made up of two visual arts exhibitions and a performance night that is being held at the Guthrie Theater. The Cargill Hall gallery, in the Minneapolis Central Library, will be displaying the work of MPS high school students for the next month. The space will be open to the public to come and see the works.

The festival is a valuable chance for students to experience being in a professional gallery space. It also helps students from many different backgrounds create valuable connections with collaborating artists and organizations. Participating South senior, Haley Larson said, “It’s something you can put in on your resume, something like ‘hey I had work shown in Viva City,’ [can go] on your list of galleries.”

Teachers from the art departments across the MPS district had the opportunity to submit four works. For many students Viva City was not something they knew about until their teachers asked them if they were interested. Larson said, “Mrs. Berger, [the painting teacher,] was talking about it one day like ‘Hey Viva City exists’ and then my sculpture teacher was talking about it and said ‘I’ll put your piece in if you want.’”

Not only does the festival give students practical knowledge but it also helps inspire. “It helps to know that people actually enjoy looking at my art and it’s really encouraging when teachers come up and say I want to show your art to other people,” said South Freshman, Olivia Trostle.

Art can play an important in the lives of students. Scholl said, “art can empower students to be able to fully express themselves. In any medium, it allows for creative thinking; it allows for student voices to be heard in ways they might not normally be heard.” Because art plays this role in schools, events like Viva City are created to further boost the potential of all students.

The art programs at South are an essential part of the school and allow students to explore a very wide range of mediums.“It’s not just art. We have painting and graphic design and sculpture and ceramics and they’re all [taught by] teachers that are very passionate about what they do,” said Larson. The dedication in the Arts Department leads to many considering working in an art related career.

One South student featured in the show, junior, Seamus Hegarty, found an interest in pottery through the ceramics class. “In all truth I was not really an artist before I came to South and then I did ceramics and Mr. Olson [the ceramics teacher], taught me how to throw and it just grew from there.” Hegarty supplemented his learning through taking classes outside of South and eventually got the point of thinking, “Now [ceramics] is what I want to do for my career.”

Events like Viva City take the dedication of students and teachers and help bring it into the view of others. Opening night of the high school showcase was filled with smiling students, families, and teachers. Scholl said, “I love to see when the students and families come… that’s kind of my favorite part. Just to see their reactions to seeing their work up on the wall in a professional gallery.”