Portola High Hosts Inaugural District Honors Art Show

Students from across the district filled the Student Union with excitement and awe, showing off sketches and paintings to their families. Boundless creativity among students in grades pre-K-to-12 sparked the evening chatter as the Irvine Unified community came together to celebrate exceptional pieces of art. 

The first Annual District Honors Art Show took place on May 19-20 at Student Union. Student recipients of the IUSD Rising Artist Awards got the opportunity to display their artwork in the Laguna Art Museum from May 27 to June 3.

“My interest in doing this is to provide students with an opportunity to see excellence, to explore their passions and their interests to be honored,” IUSD visual and performing arts coordinator Erin Zoumaras said. “My hope is that it just inspires them, so it really is for the kids to have something that reminds them how special, how talented and really how hard they’ve worked.”

Visual arts teacher Kearci Thompson took charge to organize the show, secure the space and keep track of all the artwork. 

“It also gets us out of our Portola bubble,” Thompson said. “It was really fun to see my students come through and look at what’s happening at Irvine High school or in Northwood or Woodbridge and say, ‘Oh, that piece is really cool. I want to make something like that.’ Because we often are so used to seeing what we’ve seen our friends making, but not what’s happening around us in the city.”

The gallery not only showed support for already successful artists but those rising as well. After joining the art program this year, junior Yunseo Kwon said the award motivated her to take her passion beyond just a hobby. 

“For me, I never actually won any art awards before because I was never in art,” Kwon said. “It’s my first award, so I feel really excited. At the same time, it gives me hope that I can actually do art and I can even get better, just as other great artists do.”

A goal for the District Honors Art Show next year is to host it at a community building space instead of Portola High to try to feel more welcoming to guests who are not from the school, according to Thompson.