Two Mount Vernon Upper School students were selected to showcase their artwork in the 5th Congressional District of Georgia High School Art Exhibition, which opened on April 5. Edee Moorman, Class of 2024, and Lily Sanford, Class of 2025 will have their work on display among the most talented high school students in Atlanta. The rigorous selection process requires students to submit their best works, which are then reviewed by a panel of expert judges and chosen to be showcased in the exhibit.

Edee’s painting of graffiti comes from inspiration close to home. She shared why graffiti as an art form appeals to her, “I think this particular graffiti is special because of how you can tell it has had previous colors underneath. I just like how graffiti is ever-changing and is the closest art form to locals wherever you go. It’s always one-of-a-kind artwork but it’s universal, so I wanted to represent it in my own way.”

Lily chose to paint a picture she took while visiting the Hemingway House in Key West, “The house is famous for being home to dozens of cats. I liked this photo because the window created a frame around the subject and I wanted to try painting a cat. I chose gouache as a medium because I like its mattifying effect, and it’s my favorite kind of paint to work with.”

At the end of April, Edee and Lily are invited to attend an awards ceremony with Atlanta’s Congresswoman, Nikema Natassha Williams, where they are eligible to receive recognition for their work.

Fine arts provide an opportunity for students to shine while also providing moments of regeneration during demanding and stressful days. Mount Vernon offers a range of art programs to students. This MOD in the Upper School, Mariana Depetris is teaching Jewelry Making and Drawing while Lynn Luster is teaching Ceramics. These programs not only teach students the technical skills required for artistic expression but also foster creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Mariana explained, “There’s a meditative connection to the Jewelry Making course that draws them to come into the studio even when it’s not their normal class time. In Drawing the students fundamentally and gradually develop a connection between motor skills and the brain while observing and continuously exercising inquiry of materials.”

Lynn explained that her students experience a range of emotions in her classroom, “When they begin on the wheel everyone is laughing at how hard it is to get centered. It’s the first time in a long time they as high schoolers are trying something they have no experience with, so there is some frustration. But beyond the skills, clay is a tactile and therapeutic medium. My students often talk about how they leave every stressor at the door when they come into my room. In a world ruled by screens, it is vital for people to learn these skills to process life, get out of their head, and feel the responsiveness of clay to their movements.”