Wilmette, Community

Regina Dominican’s virtual gallery makes sure student artwork finds an audience

In the spring, schools adapted quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, initiating mobile learning that left school hallways empty.

For the most part.

At Regina Dominican, colorful and compelling student artwork remained in those hallways, but there was no one around to enjoy it. 

“We were not prepared to leave the school in the spring,” said Sarah McNeely, a Regina art instructor. “One day it was all packed up, and the artwork was all lost.”

McNeely was determined to find an audience for this year’s student artwork and said it felt like “redemption” to set up the school’s first virtual art show, which debuted Thursday, Jan. 14, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 24.

Jane Keenan’s landscape is featured in the online gallery found HERE.

The virtual event showcases the artistic creations of 42 students from two of McNeely’s courses. The pieces include drawings, paintings, digital prints, mixed media and more.

Art classes, like most everything, have faced unique challenges amid COVID-19. With Regina students in the classroom every day, school windows were open, masks were required and no art supplies were shared. Plus, some students were in and out of remote learning.

But it was all worth it to provide an outlet for expression, McNeely said.

“I think it’s been so important for them to express themselves artistically,” she said. “We’re more flexible now and giving them a time to be together in a time when creating is so important.”

Regina student Sophia Angara created this cyanotype, a process in which metal compounds oxidize create a cyan blue image.

Students agree, and enrollment in McNeely’s courses have increased this semester.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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