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McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, 9602 W. Creek Road, Palos Park, featured the art of Stagg High School's most creative artists until January 28. (Photos by Kelly White)

McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, 9602 W. Creek Road, Palos Park, featured the art of Stagg High School's most creative artists until January 28. (Photos by Kelly White)

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McCord shows off Stagg student artworks

By Kelly White

Stagg High School art students proudly had their work showcased at a local gallery.

McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, 9602 W. Creek Road, Palos Park, featured the art of Stagg’s most creative until January 28.

“Having my work as part of an art show in an art gallery like McCord is significant to me because it means my work was done well enough to be selected for this show,” Dean Ghosein, 16, of Orland Park, said. “It’s another level of satisfaction that validates the artwork I created. It is exciting to have such an opportunity as a high school student.”

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Stagg High School junior Samantha Doyle, 16, of Hickory Hills, created a 3D piece of artwork representing mental illness for the high school’s art exhibition at McCord Gallery & Cultural Center.

A reception of the exhibition was held on Friday, January 21. The event was free and open to the public.

“It’s gratifying to have others appreciate something that I made,” Ghosein said.

“As an art teacher and artist, it is always a proud moment to have your students’ works to be showcased on any capacity. It is very exciting to have their work celebrated and elevated in the gallery environment,” Arwa Azhari, Art Teacher at Stagg, said. “It gives them an understanding of where their art can go beyond the classroom as a real-world experience.”

As Azhari said, exhibiting art in an actual gallery space allows students to see how much their work is appreciated and respected by others, and encourages them to continue to pursue their interests in art, and gallery representatives said they are honored to provide the space to display up and coming artists in the local community.

McCord has always been a supportive community art center in which to showcase the accomplishments of our art students,” Azhari said. “It validates their art beyond the classroom level and teaches them that art can be shown to elevate culture and communicate to others.”

The gallery has been showcasing Stagg’s students’ artwork since 2014.

This year, more than 100 students had pieces displayed, ranging from jewelry projects, paintings, drawings, photographs, digital media projects, and more, for a total of 141 creative works of art.

“My mom is an artist and has had work on display there which is a legacy to keep,” Courtney Conroy, 16, of Palos Hills, said.

The work was created in a variety of Stagg’s art courses, including: digital media design, drawing, painting, photography, jewelry, advanced placement art, etc.

Junior Ula Beinartas decided to highlight a piece of reflective photography.

“I’m a nature person,” Beinartas, 16, of Palos Hills, said. “I focused on a tree in a courtyard near my home that was changing colors and looked absolutely beautiful.”

The works, like Beinartas’, were completed for the exhibition during class time over the course of the semester. Students of all grade levels, from freshmen to seniors, were selected to participate in the unique opportunity based on classroom and project experience to which they excelled, Azhari said.

“It was a pleasure to host this event once again, as it allowed us to feature the works of the young, up and coming artists in our community in a gallery setting,” Linda Buchanan, Executive Director of McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, said. “We always look forward to hosting this event, and hope it encourages many of these students to expand and continue their interest in the arts as a hobby or a career.”

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Stagg High School junior Ula Beinartas, 16, of Palos Hills, stands next to her work hanging at McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, 9602 W. Creek Road, Palos Park, during an art reception on Friday, January 21.

The McCord House has deep Palos Park roots. It was originally built in the early 1830s. The house was part of a farm that raised cattle and other farm animals. The house was renovated by the Connell Family in the 1940s and all the windows and staircase are original to the building.

McCord Gallery & Cultural Center opened its doors in 2004. The gallery not only showcased the work of local artists, but it also offers art classes, music lessons, cultural events and workshops to the public.

“Stagg was thrilled to be able to partner with a local gallery to give our art students the opportunity to show their work,” Mary Pat Carr, Assistant Principal at Stagg, said. “We are very fortunate to have a long relationship with the McCord Gallery and know that it means so much to our students, their families, and friends to have their work highlighted where all can enjoy it.”

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