Earlier this month, El Dorado High School had an opening reception for its 2019 International Baccalaureate art exhibit in the Founders Hall at the Hospitals of Providence East Campus.
The annual exhibit featured the artwork that El Dorado students created as part of a two-year project in the International Baccalaureate program. The IB program is one of the Socorro Independent School District’s advanced academics academies, which provides students a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum that prepares them for college and careers and to be active participants of a global society.
“This is the culmination of everything they have been working on,” said Candace Printz, art teacher at El Dorado. “This reception is for the students so they can show their family and friends what they have been working so hard for.”
The students created numerous pieces and curated the exhibit. They wrote their biographies and created artist statements, creating an art portfolio to display professionally.
As part of their grade, the students spent part of the day defending their work to an art examiner.
“They had to be articulate and learn to explain themselves,” Printz said. “I found that the process helped a lot of the kids. It built their self-esteem.”
Many students sold their works and received 100 percent of the sales price they set.
Natalie De Santiago’s art intrigued a doctor, who walked by the exhibit. He bought one of her paintings and commissioned another.
“I honestly thought my work wasn’t that good,” said De Santiago, who hopes to become a psychologist and receive a minor in art therapy. “I was genuinely surprised that somebody would actually want my work. Being in this class opened that door for me.”
The two year project helped her discover an art style and uncover the kind of medium she prefers (painting). She learned so much about herself through her art work, De Santiago said.
“Art is so therapeutic,” she said. “It provides an escape for me. I am so grateful to have the IB program at El Dorado. It has led me to become a well-rounded student.”
De Santiago and her classmates’ experience would not have been possible without the help of the Hospitals of Providence East, who hosted the reception and exhibit, Printz said.
“They hang the show, provide the invitations, help celebrate our students with a luncheon and host the reception,” Printz said. “For somebody to be just down the road, be a Partner in Education and be able to step in and do that, it means the world to the kids. I am so grateful to the Hospitals of Providence for all they have done.”