WCCUSD Student Art Show wows at Richmond Art Center

WCCUSD Student Art Show wows at Richmond Art Center
"Color Grill" by Aaron Pelaez of De Anza High (All photos in this story credited to Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

It’s been a vibrant partnership for more than five decades and its coloring Richmond’s canvas once again.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District’s “54th Annual West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Student Art Show” has returned for another run in the Richmond Art Center’s (RAC) Community and West Galleries at its 2540 Barrett Ave. location in Richmond.

The teacher-curated exhibition is sponsored by the school district and opened up March 26. According to a statement by the Richmond Art Center, the show “represents the wealth of student artistic talent in the district, as well as best practices in delivering an art-based curriculum. The Richmond Art Center and WCCUSD share an ongoing vision that art education is a crucial component of a thriving and productive society.”

The WCCUSD Student Art Show

WCCUSD schools participating in this year’s exhibition include: De Anza High School, El Cerrito High School, Fred T. Korematsu Middle School, Helms Middle School, Hercules High School, Hercules Middle School, Kennedy High School, Mira Vista Middle School, Pinole Valley High School, Richmond High School, Sylvester Greenwood Academy and Vista High School.

The Rich Life checked out the exhibition not long after its debut and found the student talent more prolific and impressive than ever, with 420 artworks in a variety of artistic mediums on display. Pop culture was one notable theme among some of the works and included individual references such as Oprah, Super Mario, SpongeBob SquarePants and even Scooby Doo. Another common thread was a number of self-portraits, utterly eye-catching in their inventiveness and individuality.

“Dark to Light” by Micheala Malonzo of Richmond High

A number of ceramic works were also on display in glass cases at the RAC, as well as many mixed media pieces employing an inventive array of materials that ranged from newspaper to makeshift $100 bills to candles and more.

As it turns out, this year the WCCUSD Student Art Show has had an international audience. While perusing art in the Community Gallery, this reporter met several Japanese students hailing from Richmond’s sister city of Shimada, Japan. One student shared that their group of middle and high school students was in town for ten days and that they were enjoying the art show, which they found very interesting.

Allison Hersh, Kennedy High (“Ashanti”)

Overall, the student exhibition is highly recommended not only for the aesthetics and deeply layered  meaning behind many of the works, but also because it bears beautiful testimony to the enormous artistic talent of our local youth and their teachers. 

If you go to see the student show, be sure to take time also check out Jos Sances’ “Or, the Whale,” a life size drawing of a sperm whale that’s embedded with a history of capitalism in America. It’s truly epic!

“Or the Whale” by Jos Sances.

Sances’ work is part of another show currently exhibiting at the RAC, Here is the Sea, which is accompanied by additional shows there called Faces Without NosesRichmond Creates: The 7th Annual Art in the Community Show and Siempre Estaré A Tu Lado—all of which run through May 17.

For its part, the WCCUSD Student Art Show will be celebrated with a reception at the RAC Tues., April 16, from 5-7 p.m. That particular show will be on display at the RAC through April 26. To learn more about the WCCUSD Student Art Show or the spring exhibitions, visit the Richmond Art Center’s website here or call 510.620.6772.

“Or the Whale” closeup by artist Jos Sances
“Portrait,” by Sarah Wildwind of El Cerrito HIgh
“Never Enough” by Olivia Paonessa of Hercules Middle School
“Vib” by Zhanee Carter of Hercules High
“Plant” by Viridiana Sanchez of Mira Vista Middle School.
Students from Shimada, Japan, a sister-city with Richmond, attend the WCCUSD Art Show at the Richmond Art Center.
WCCUSD Art Show Hallway