A Fine Night for Fine Nights

 Senior AP Photographer student Shelby Thomas poses next to her fine arts display

 Senior Shelby Thomas poses next to her display board during Fine Arts Night.
By Vanessa Gibson, Staff Writer

   Every May, Carroll High School hosts a Fine Arts Night to celebrate students’ visual artwork and musical creations. This year, the event was held on May 11 and was open to any parent or student who wished to attend.

   Although the occasion celebrated all art students’ hard work and accomplishments, the main focus of this year's night was to honor the 47 senior Fine Arts Connection and AP Photography students.

   Carroll High School seniors Sara Mylrea and Shelby Thomas were two of those students whose art was exhibited during Fine Arts Night.

   For Mylrea’s senior showcase, she chose to display mostly colored-pencil drawings that she has done throughout her art career at Carroll. However, Mylrea also showed a variety of paintings and oil pastels to create some diversity.

   Currently, Mylrea is enrolled in Carroll’s Fine Arts Connection class. One of the main objectives of the class is to help prepare senior students for their showcase during Fine Arts Night. Mylrea believes that the class pushed her to create pieces that unified her style and spoke to her audience.

   Fine Arts Connection teacher Scott Kilmer was also beneficial to Mylrea during this process. Kilmer helped Mylrea, as well as other students, prepare for the big night by making sure that everyone stayed on track with each project and creating their display boards. These preparations aimed to reduce last minute stress.

   Not only did the Fine Arts Connection class have a profound impact on Mylrea’s artwork, but the students within the class did as well.

   “All the other Fine Arts Connection students have a really big influence on me,” Mylrea said. “They’re so talented that I feel like there’s no room to slack off, but they also inspire me to try different styles.”

   For Mylrea, the most stressful part of prepping for Fine Arts Night was finding and preparing her display board.

   “We [had] to showcase all our art by assembling our own art boards,” Mylrea said, “and that [required] the Fine Arts and Photo students to spend a lot of time, money, and thought into assembling the board so that it not only [functioned] but [represented] us as artists too.”

   Unlike Mylrea, Thomas said that she found very little stress in preparing for Fine Arts Night.

   During Thomas’s four years at Carroll, she has taken nearly every art class offered. Although Thomas has pieces from her painting, ceramics, and digital design classes, she chose to solely display her photography during Fine Arts Night. Showcasing pieces that she felt very strongly about was important for Thomas.

   Thomas is currently taking Carroll’s AP Photography class. Students in this class work during the year on different projects. Similar to Fine Arts Connection, AP Photography students display their pieces during Fine Arts Night.

   For Thomas, other photography students were a crucial part in helping her to prepare.

   “Everyone in my AP Photo class has been so helpful to each other,” Thomas said. “Even though we each [had] individual displays, we [relied] on each other so much for everything. They were my crutch when I felt like my work was going nowhere, and they pushed me to try new things.”

   Although both Mylrea and Thomas experienced ups and downs during their long journey of preparation for Fine Arts Night, they are both thankful that Carroll willingly hosts a night each year to celebrate the fine arts.

    Mylrea said that artists, unlike athletes, are difficult to recognize because the public cannot always see someone work on their art like they could watch a sports game.

   “It’s exciting that we get a night of recognition,” Mylrea said. “It honestly feels good to get a pat on the back for something that means a lot to you.”

   Likewise, Thomas views Fine Arts Night as an important showcase of Carroll’s artists.

   “This is really the only time of the year we art kids get to show off what we are capable of,” Thomas said. “It really shows the hard work that we put into our art, and I think it helps to inspire others to join Carroll’s art classes.”