The public is invited to the opening reception of the annual Portland Public Schools Student Art Show this Friday, May 5, at City Hall. After being held virtually since the pandemic, the event is back in person. The artwork of hundreds of talented students in kindergarten through grade 12 will be on display in City Hall hallways from May 5 to May 19.
The Student Art Show kicks off with the opening reception, which will take place during the city’s First Friday Art Walk. The reception will run from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Students’ musical abilities also will be on display during the reception, with a 4:30 p.m. performance by students in the Portland Public Schools Orchestra..
“The annual art show is a way for the Portland community to see the creativity and talent that happens in art classrooms throughout all of our schools,” said Chad Hart, art teacher at Talbot Community School and the district’s art coordinator. “This is the first in-person district art show at City Hall since 2019 and we are super excited. Celebrating the arts together as a district with our students, teachers, families and administrators is a wonderful experience that builds community and celebrates the talents of our students and our amazing art teachers.”
Each school in the district will have on display anywhere from 20 to 50 pieces, depending on the size of each artwork, Hart said. In addition to two-dimensional artwork, there also will be sculptures on display.
“This show is a great way to see the development of our students through their experiences in the art room from kindergarten until senior year,” Hart said. “The artwork in the show has everything from kindergarteners’ collages and paintings to 12th-graders’ detailed pottery created in an advanced ceramics class. The talent and creativity displayed is something to be proud of, along with celebrating the guidance and mentorship that our art educators give our students.”
Being able to display their work publicly benefits students, Hart said. “Having a show of such breadth and beauty in a place where everyone in our community can see and admire it gives our students a sense of strength, empowerment and confidence,” he said. “The show also demonstrates the importance and value the arts bring to our schools, our students and our entire community.”
The public can view the artwork whenever City Hall is open. General building hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the building also is open on evenings when public meetings are being held there.
The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 49.8 percent of the district’s students are white and 50.2 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.