Art Center highlights ‘human spirit’

Richmond center recognizes, celebrates high school talent


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

High school student Mian Jalal (right) poses next to his pencil drawing as Richard Ambrose, RAC executive director, takes a picture with his cellphone during the WCCUSD Student Art Show at the Richmond Art Center on Thursday.

By Yesenia Melara, Staff Writer

RICHMOND — An afternoon of music, art and local young talent filled the halls of the Richmond Art Center on Thursday. The RAC and West Contra Costa Unified School District partnered to hold their 51st annual WCCUSD Student Art Show from 5 to 7 p.m.

The reception was free to the public and recognized the various artistic work of students and their art teachers from middle and high schools within WCCUSD.

Among the participating schools were Korematsu Middle, Richmond High, De Anza High, El Cerrito High, Kennedy High and Pinole High.

More than 300 art pieces from 12 different schools were displayed.

RAC Executive Director Richard Ambrose said he wants students to recognize there are going to be challenges within their art and lives, but they can overcome them with a sense of confidence.

“Art is interactive, something that can be done with their minds, emotions and hands,” he said. “It is the gathering of the whole human spirit.”

As attendees walked down the hall to view the exhibit, the walls were filled with art representing an emotion, a memory, a person of admiration or a combination of favorite things that inspired these students.

For others, it was also their first time taking an art class.

Evan Quan, a ninth grade El Cerrito High student, said he had a tough time in his art classes when he started.

“I didn’t have the art skills but my teacher Ms. (Cathy) Coleman always pushed me to work harder on my drawings,” Quan said. “I improved a lot through the semester, so I’m proud of myself.”

He said he was surprised when he found out one of his works was going to be on display in the art center. It was a great experience for him.

El Cerrito High art teacher Coleman said she is proud of Quan’s hard work.

“He started really low, but I was always there pushing him. I saw potential in him,” she said. “Many of these students don’t know the talent they have. They just need someone to believe in them. I want them to be confident in their work and in what they can accomplish.”

Korematsu Middle School student Cecelia Moco’s art work shows the faces of her two best friends, drawn in white and dark brown colors.

She said what inspired her to draw her best friends was the strong friendship they had since she first met them. Art for her is her own inner voice.

“There is writing and music, but drawing is my way of expressing my voice,” she said.

During the art show, Ambrose recognized three individual students for their artistic work. They were awarded prize money given by the RAC.

The winners were Kennedy High students Rudy Suarez and Kenneth Huang and Pinole High student Eric Sanchez.

Ambrose said they judged the artworks on display and thought these the artwork of these three students were outstanding.

“They deserved an artistic achievement,” he said.

Suarez’s winning artwork was inspired by his math teacher, Mark Moran. His drawing incorporates a background of statistics formulas surrounding his math teacher colored in black and white.

Moran said, “Rudy is a good math student and a talented artist. For him to combine both elements was very creative. I feel honored that he chose to draw me.”

The art works of these students will be on display until Sunday. Admission is free to the public.

For more information about the WCCUSD Student Art Show, contact RAC Communications Director Jessica Parker at 510-620-6780.