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Hart High's annual Art Show

Posted: May 23, 2014 9:22 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2014 9:22 p.m.

Hart High seniors Kayla Johnson, center, and Steven Zavalla examine the artwork on display in the main lobby of the Hart Exhibit 2014 held at Hart High Schooll on Friday.

A boy approaches Mary Ann Fragodt at Hart High School’s annual Art Show on Thursday and asks if she is the art teacher.

“Yes,” she says.

“I’m joining your class next year. Good luck (teaching) me,” he jokes sarcastically.

But Fragodt, who just wrapped up her 27th consecutive art show at the school, may be more than the boy bargained for.

After all, her whole philosophy centers on loyalty to her students.

“Never letting students give up (is my credo),” Fragodt said. “Then they see things as an artist sees things.”

One such example is Ariel Aguirre. The junior said he hadn’t completed an art project in his entire high-school career, but this year Fragodt gave him an ultimatum: either he finish his pencil drawing of actor Johnny Depp and do it as well as Fragodt knew he was capable of, or fail the class.

Fortunately for Aguirre, his sketch of the thespian hung, finished, near the exhibit’s entrance.

For senior Sarah Struble, an encounter with Fragodt early on in her schooling at Hart wasn’t a matter of quitting, but of overconfidence.

“I’m great at art. I should be in your advanced art class,” Struble remembers telling Fragodt.

Fragodt disagreed. She needed to start with the basics.

“She’s the best,” said Struble Thursday. “She has taught me so much and gives so much freedom.”

The art show exhibit of drawings, paintings, illustrations, ceramics, photography, graphic art and other media is the culmination of a year’s worth of work by Hart’s Career Technical Education visual arts students.

Art on display depicted everything from beaches, to trees, to a flamenco dancer.

“I grew up in a household that loved Spanish music,” said senior Kayla Johnson, on why she painted the dancer.

“(Spanish music) makes you want to dance even on bad days. It makes you want to do the cha-cha.”

Madeline Kehl, a junior, found inspiration in books rather than music. Her art for the exhibit portrays scenes from five major works of 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

“There’s just something about Dostoyevsky,” Kehl said. “There are these key moments and ideas that stick with you more than other literature.”

In March 2013, the California Department of Education designated Hart High a California Exemplary Arts Education Program, which according to a CDE press release means the school has “committed time and resources to broad-based arts education programs that strengthen students’ creativity and encourage their personal interests.”

Fragodt says art students at Hart spend their first two years completing a “foundation program” before their final couple years are spent focusing on their particular interests.

For senior Steven Zavala, that concentration was displayed at the exhibit with storyboards of fictional characters and their capabilities, as well as a work that shows how the characters interact.

Zavala wants to be a video game concept designer one day.

He wouldn’t be the first student to take what he’s learned at Hart to the next level; Fragodt has had pupils go on to work in many aspects of the visual arts industry, including at Disney and for film director George Lucas.

There’s hope too, for the boy who told Fragodt, “Good luck.” Fragodt won’t give up on him.

As the once overconfident Struble left the gallery Thursday, her art teacher called after her.

“You’re a star,” she said.


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