AP art and jewelry classes expand beyond the classroom


AP art and jewelry students attending their art showcase at the Panza Gallery.

Aly Poliziani

The art department at Shaler Area High School provides a unique outlet of expression for many students. From the implementation of the National Art Honor Society, a group that works to promote creativity throughout the community, to the various art shows hosted annually, many students take advantage of these unique experiences.

Most recently, members of both the AP art and jewelry classes were given the opportunity to publicly showcase their work at local small businesses.

This past December, student work was displayed at the Panza Gallery in Millvale. The shop is famous for hosting one to two local artists at a time in their lower level gallery space. Shaler Area AP art teacher Mr. Jeffrey Frank expressed how beneficial these real world experiences are for his students.

“When art is created with the purpose of sharing it with a larger audience, it tends to improve the quality of the work. The students spend time thinking about what they want to share with their art,” Mr. Frank said.

In addition to the seemingly professional benefits of display, there was also a variety of other activities offered. Mrs. Lisa Steel, the woman who worked alongside Mr. Frank to orchestrate the event, also included live local bands, vendors from the community, and food for the show opening.

It’s a great way for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to see the talent that we have at Shaler.

— Mr. Jeffrey Frank

Despite this being the art department’s first collaboration with the gallery, Frank emphasized how successful and entertaining it was.

“This success then provides amazing motivation to find new ways to show our work in the future,” Mr. Frank said.

For the month of February, the group hosted an event at Ruckus café for the second year in a row. Not only were students given the chance to display their pieces, but they also had the opportunity to sell their works.

“It’s a great way for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to see the talent that we have at Shaler,” Mr. Frank said.

In addition to the overall community exposure, many current students also appreciate the opportunity to view their peers’ work.

“It’s nice to see everyone’s work on display, especially with all of the different styles and varieties of art,” senior AP art student Emma Ranallo said.

Frank emphasized how important it is for the students to be given these memorable opportunities. This rush is especially valuable for young, emerging artists which is why the group intends to continue promoting their work through a variety of shows and galleries.

“One of our goals in AP art is to reach beyond the classroom and create works to share with our community,” Mr. Frank concluded.