Growing Art Program Shines

June 04, 2019

Parker School’s growing and impressive art program is earning record results in nationwide and regional art competitions and national advanced placement exams.

This year, Parker School’s arts program saw 57 Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art portfolios submitted to the college board. This is nearly 45% of the entire upper school student body and the highest number of submissions in the school’s 43-year history. The school’s AP art program has steadily increased over the last ten years, beginning with a couple of independent study students to three sections of AP art due to high demand. “At the AP level, our program challenges students to think about concept,” says Heidi Buscher, visual arts chair and upper school art teacher at Parker School. “We challenge students to think about their place in the lineage of art history and to consider the ways that, as artists, they can change and shape the world.”

With the demand and growth in visual arts, Parker students are finding great success with 38 individuals earning 49 awards in numerous state, regional and national art competitions.  Parker student-artists took home two national awards, one regional winner, one statewide winner, one people’s choice and two best in show. 

Seniors Erica Yost and Emma Laliberte won national recognition in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  Yost won a national gold medal and an American Visions medal for her mixed medal piece titled “Beekeeper.” Laliberte earned a national gold medal for her personal essay/memoir titled “Sense of Self.”  Both students were selected by a panel of creative professionals as the most talented in the nation and are invited to attend a ceremony at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City this month.  Sixteen additional high school students earned gold and silver medals in regional recognition for 23 pieces and six portfolios from more than a thousand submissions.

Junior Tyler Thomas won the top award in the statewide 2019 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Thomas won $1,000 and a trip to Washington D.C. where his work titled “Global Warming, Swimming in a Jar” will be on display at the U.S. Capitol for a year. In addition, junior Katie Carey won the People’s Choice award for her work of photography titled “The Stories We Don’t Tell; Holding On.” The “People’s Choice” winner was determined by a contest on Rep. Gabbard’s official Facebook page.  From the hundreds of submissions for this year’s competition, six of the 16 finalists were Parker students.

Kahea Gaglione, grade 8, and Parisa Eghbali, grade 5, earned Best in Show in the 2019 Youth Art Month (YAM), a statewide competition administered by The Council for Art Education (CFAE) to emphasize the value of art education. Kahea won best in show for her painting titled “Waimea Hills” and Parisa for her mixed media titled “Under the Fur.” In total, 13 students from lower, middle and upper school were selected from hundreds of students across the state to have their artwork shown in the Hawaii State Capitol Building’s Underground Chamber Level Auditorium Exhibit for the month of April.

Riley Bergin, grade 3, earned first place in division 3 at the island level in the statewide Sight Is Beautiful art competition by Lions of Hawaii. While, Roka Yonemitsu in grade 2, earned second place in division 2 at the state level out of 900 submissions which was open to all students in grades Kindergarten through 6 attending public or private schools.

The Parker School fine arts program incorporates visual and performing arts specialties throughout the K-12 experience.