Carroll High School Blog
The National Art Honor Society at Carroll High School has always made it a priority to bless the community with our artistic gifts. As an organization, we understand that our talents were meant to be shared and used to brighten the world. This idea has become the cornerstone mission of the National Art Honor Society at Carroll High School.
Secret Santa with an Artistic Twist
This year in the spirit of Christmas, the NAHS decided that they wanted to bless each other with an artistic gift. Each NAHS member wrote out a notecard with their name and some information about themselves, such as their favorite color, medium, animal, movie, hobby, and their preferred “aesthetic” (the overall style of someone or something). During the November NAHS Induction meeting, each member randomly selected a fellow member’s card. Using the information given, the students were to secretly create a personalized art piece for their chosen peer. A variety of mediums could be used in these creations, including graphite, colored pencil, pastel, charcoal, watercolor, and acrylic paint. The subject matter was completely unique and specific to the listed interests of the selected student.
During our NAHS Christmas party in December, students came with their completed creations, framed, wrapped, and ready to give to their respective owner. The meeting was equipped with sweet treats and classic Christmas music playing in the background. The spirit of Christmas was soaring in the art room!
In great anticipation, each secret Santa found their unknowing peer and presented them with their wrapped art piece. On the count of three, students eagerly unwrapped their gifts. Smiles of appreciation illuminated the room as students began to unveil their personalized artworks. These handmade gifts were unique in that not only were they a gift of creative thoughtfulness but also a gift of each other’s time. Our time is a precious gift that we never get back. The donation of each NAHS member’s time in the personalized creation of each gift made the exchange very special and deeply appreciated by each student. It was a great way to connect with other artists in the society and gain a greater sense of belonging to the Carroll art community.
You Get What You Give
Often times, the NAHS will give their artistic gifts to the greater community, such as donating and designing Halloween themed lunch bags filled with candy or providing art supplies at Christmas to local kids in need. Rarely, do the art students ever get to see the joy they have brought to the people they have helped. The NAHS gift exchange was a very rare opportunity for the NAHS members to not only witness the joy their artistic gifts bring, but to also feel the joy themselves of being blessed by another’s artistic talent and time.
Eight Carroll High School students' original pieces of art earned 11 awards in the first round of judgement in the 2021 Scholastic Art Awards. Seniors Kevin Brun, Victoria Fowler, and Gretel Helm earned one Gold Key Award each, qualifying their pieces to the next round of the competition for a chance to have their works displayed in New York this spring at the National Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition.
Victoria Fowler '21: Otto (Paper Collage, Gold Key), Perched (Paper Collage, Honorable Mention), X Amount of Miles (Ink and Colored Pencil, Honorable Mention)
Delaney Conger '21: Bleeding Out (Marker, Silver Key), A Shattering Mind (Colored Pencil, Honorable Mention)
Kevin Brun '21: Portrait in Quarantine (Graphite, Colored Pencil, Gold Key)
Samantha Yates '23: Swimming in a Sea of Memories (Chalk Pastel, Silver Key)
Emma Williams '23: Self Portrait (Chalk Pastel, Honorable Mention)
Maya Merland '22: Lush (Acrylic Paint, Embroidery/Thread, Silver Key)
Gretel Helm '21: Upward (Acrylic Paint, Gold Key)
Sam Wittmann '22: Surface of Tension (Colored Pencil, Ink, Honorable Mention)
Carroll High School is fortunate enough to have a National Art Honor Society (NAHS) and is the only Catholic high school in the Dayton area to offer it. NAHS is an organization dedicated to promoting and giving value to visual art in education. The society benefits the students in many ways, but also benefits the school and the Greater Dayton area. Much time is spent using the creative talents and ideas of the NAHS members for the good of the community. Here are some ways the members of the NAHS share their artistic gifts.
Halloween Bag Decorating
During October, each NAHS member creates a hand-drawn Halloween design on a white lunch bag, and art students donate bags of candy that are used during the meeting to fill each decorated Halloween bag. We also have our Halloween party during this meeting and have a great time listening to Halloween music, eating candy, and filling Halloween bags for the less fortunate. The NAHS uses the expertise of the Campus Ministry Department (AKA Mrs. Fisher) to direct our donations to those in the community that have a need. Many times, the Halloween bags are given to the kids in the El Puente after-school program. The bags are always received with much happiness and many smiles.
Christmas Art Supply Donation
Each December, NAHS members collect art supplies, such as crayons, markers, paper, paints, colored pencils, paint brushes, and more to lovingly wrap and donate to children in need. The wrapping party is a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas amongst the NAHS members as they give back creative items in hopes of inspiring other young artists like themselves. Unfortunately, because of logistics relating to COVID-19, NAHS was not able to have their usual Christmas wrapping party. However, the NAHS members unanimously decided that the art supply donation must go on with or without the party and are continuing the tradition of gathering art supplies to donate to those less fortunate this holiday season. It’s wonderful to see students find ways to continue traditions and community outreaches in the midst of the pandemic. The need for cheer in our community is especially important now, and it is a proud moment to see students rise to the occasion.
School-wide Photography Contest
In the Spring, NAHS sponsors a school-wide photography contest as a way to invite the entire school into our art community. The contest gives all Carroll students the opportunity to be creative and possibly have their photographs showcased as one of the winners of the contest. The contest features 4 photography categories: Nature, People, Animals, and Objects. For each category, there is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, place winner. National Art Honor Society members vote on their favorite images for each category. The winners are then displayed in the front lobby showcase or on social media and are awarded prizes for their winning work. The contest is a great way to give all Carroll students the opportunity to be recognized and showcased for their creative ideas.
Carrying on the Carroll Art Legacy
Carroll High School has always been a place of giving and kindness. The National Art Honor Society has made it a priority to use their organization with the same intentions. Carroll Visual Art students recognize the gift they have in their artistic talents and want to use those talents to bring cheer and goodness to the community. God-given talents are meant to be shared and used to bless others. This belief has always been and will always be a staple to our artist community at Carroll High School.
Like many other school events, our plan of honoring our senior artists students with a Senior Art Show in the Spring was unfortunately canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. What still remains is the hard work and commitment put forth by our artists in the Class of 2020. Throughout the last four years, these students have been inventing a visual language that best defines their own life experiences and interpretations of the world. Although we can’t display that work physically in a public art exhibit, we would still like to show you a small sampling of each artist’s work and share with you their own interpretation of what art means to them.
Featured Senior AP Art Students
My concentration is an abstract version of how I see the world. Ever since I was a little girl, I was immersed in nature. My family would always go on hikes together and was constantly exploring. I mainly use black and white because those colors allow me to create the intricate textures and patterns that are found in nature; the idea of black and white, the absence of color and the total presence of color coming together to form the world around us.
My art is something that you could never see in the real world but still has that real world feel to it. I use moments, thoughts, and issues that I have gone through as inspiration. My hope for my art is that everyone can see a little of themselves and what they have experienced.
My concentration is human anatomy, the emotions of humans, and expressive lines. The reason I choose this as my concentration is that I wanted to get better at drawing the human body and the different types of bodies and faces. I learned from an art teacher in the past that once you master how to draw the human body, you can master drawing anything. The expressive lines that come in my concentration are based on animation. I like to express and exaggerate the poses of the people I'm drawing to get a feeling of movement in my characters.
Many times, people cannot say what they really want to say. Sometimes, people don't know what they want to say. Once you know it, you will worry about other people's opinions. Will others like or agree with me? Will anyone really listen to me? So many times, there is nothing to say, but painting can say it for us. Art proves to the world its thoughts and existence. It is the only way we express ourselves.
I try to bring meaninglessness to my artwork. So often, if not always, people will litter their works with symbolism and subtle propaganda but that's not my usual vibe. Through watercolor, screenprinting, and most recently oil paints, I do my best to convey as little as I possibly can in the fun, most surreal ways I can muster. Commentary is for professionalism, chaos is for kicks.
My concentration focuses on human faces, nature, and color. I worked to develop my own style and become comfortable in my own pieces and what I was creating. For my pieces, I mainly used colored pencil to best express color and emotion.
My artworks reflect different aspects of myself: my hobbies, childhood dreams, or personal growth. With every pen stroke, I thrive to integrate my personality and emotion into my designs which has become the key to make them quirky but charming. For my audience, I wish my art pieces could serve as pathways to my inner heart, advocating my beliefs, and broadcasting my voice. I prefer various art mediums including watercolor, colored pencil, and digital image.
My concentration is about my own story, my experience, and process of growing.
The mind I had, the feeling I had. I decided to record the moments of my past and open my heart. Let it be.
It has been an honor these last four years to walk alongside these wonderful students as they evolved into the artists they are today. Becoming an artist is an individual process that, as their teacher, I have taken care not to encroach upon. There is no formula to follow or mold to adhere to. It is a process that can only happen through one’s own mind and unique life experiences.
It takes a special courage to express that individuality without any guarantee the world will appreciate or understand what is being communicated. These artists of mine have taken that risk many times and have had the courage not only to evolve with their art, but also to fail. These students have grown into the strong artists they are not only because of their successes, but also because of their willingness to struggle and push through the ideas that didn’t work to get to the ideas that did.
My hope for these young artists is that they will continue pushing through all of life’s successes and failures, knowing that what awaits on the other side is a stronger, more authentic version of themselves. May these Patriot artists always remember where they came from and remember where they always belong.
In Carroll High School’s Visual Art Department, we believe every student is an artist and find joy by helping our students unleash their creative spirit. Carroll’s Visual Art program is designed to fulfill all the needs and interests of our young artists by offering an array of art courses that range from Ceramics, Digital Photography, and Online Art Appreciation to Creative Drawing and Design, Studio Art, and Advanced Placement Art. No matter a student's ability level, there is an art class to enjoy.
Carroll's Core Art Program
For students who are serious about art education, Carroll offers an outstanding core program that pushes them to their highest potential. In the first part of the program, students spend many hours mastering the technical skills needed within each medium to build a strong foundation to creatively build on later in AP Art. Students learn to work with mediums like charcoal, pastel, ink, watercolor, acrylic and oil paint, digital media, and more. The Visual Art department is equipped with 28 new computers with the latest professional art software, including the newest version of Adobe Photoshop. Another wonderful feature for students to enjoy is an actual art studio space where our developing artists can set up a permanent work area with easels to paint or draw from life.
Advanced Placement Art offers students the unique opportunity to choose the direction and content of their artwork based on a cohesive theme called a concentration. Much thought is put into the concentration idea, as it will embody their work through their junior and senior years of AP Art. Students pick a visual idea and medium that they would like to explore and eventually master. This idea becomes a visual language unique to each student, allowing for much creative freedom and personal expression.
Carroll Visual Art students submit their work to a variety of art competitions and have received more than 560 art show placements and wins. The Visual Art program helps students build a strong portfolio of work that can be submitted to colleges for scholarships, as well as to the AP College Board for college credit.
Carroll is the only Catholic high school in the area that offers National Art Honor Society. NAHS sponsors art contests within the school, invites guest artists to speak at meetings, and donates holiday themed art projects and art supplies to the homeless shelters and youth centers. The organization provides students with a community of artists that can share their artistic gifts and ideas with the public, thus bringing even more value to art in education.
The Art Experts
Two full time-time teachers (who also happen to be husband and wife) make up Carroll's Visual Art faculty: Mrs. Renee Merland, a master level teacher with 18 years of art teaching experience, and Mr. Merland, with 3 years of art teaching experience as well as 10 years of professional experience in the field of art. Both teachers are practicing artists that commission their work to the public. You can check out Mrs. Merland’s website of artwork at reneemerland.com.
Reaping the Benefits of Visual Art Education at Carroll
It is our mission to provide students every opportunity to succeed and grow as artists. Our hope is that every student who takes a Visual Art class at Carroll develops a love and appreciation for art and discovers an artistic side they may have never known they had. Opportunities like AP art credit, NAHS, portfolio development, college art scholarships, mastering a wide range of materials and techniques, personal expression, art competitions, using the latest art software and technology, studio space, and teachers that love and live what they teach are the many benefits of an art education at Carroll.
Additionally, seniors in AP Art are given the opportunity to showcase their work in a culminating senior art show. This is an event that gives each artist a well-deserved moment to shine and share their visual ideas with the public. Art comes from a very profound place within us and takes courage to share. When students see their friends, family, and even strangers support this event, there is a heartwarming moment within the student (and teacher) that radiates pride and achievement. In 2020, we hope that you can share this moment with us on April 16th at the Dayton Metro Library Wilmington-Stroop Branch in Kettering from 6:30-8:00 p.m. We will celebrate our senior artists and their artwork with refreshments, music, and fun!