A large crowd converged on the Episcopal School of Dallas Sept. 6 for a celebration of the arts when the school’s first Alumni Art Show featuring works from about 70 former students opened to the public.
“We have this rep of being an athletics school, but we are just as much an art school,” said head of school Meredyth Cole. “I’m very proud of this.”
The show, which runs through Dec. 3, features both amateur and professional artists’ work in a range of different media. It was the brainchild of middle school studio art teacher Vikki Martin, who thought the school’s Susan M. Frank Center for Arts and Humanities would be the perfect setting to showcase alumni work in a professional manner. Martin suggested the idea to the alumni association 18 months ago.
“It’s nice to see the students who have gone on professionally, but I really wanted it to be an opportunity for the students here now to learn that while art is something you can do professionally, it can also be something you do for enjoyment,” Martin said. “It doesn’t have to be art on a wall — it can be other things.
Professional glass artist Carlyn Ray, who graduated ESD in 2000, has a piece from her glass weaving series on display. Ray studied under Martin, and credits the school with helping her develop her passion. She hopes her work will help current students see that art can contribute to a career and a successful business.
“I’m really taken by the art that’s come out of this school and how supportive this school is of creative learning,” Ray said. “I’m proud to be a part of this family here.”
Class of 2006 graduate Amy Zamora Kennedy has her wedding dress on display. She made the dress from dupioni silk and metallic embroidery thread. She has been making her own clothes since her ESD days.
“This is a really special place to me,” Kennedy said.
Professional photographer Allison Smith, who graduated ESD in 1988, also has fond memories of the school. Smith’s work has been published in numerous media outlets across the country, including the Dallas Morning News and The New York Times.
Smith credits her high school teacher Kathleen Raymond for coming into her life at the right time and helping her find her calling.
“We had this small darkroom with nerdy kids who loved photography,” she said. “That’s why I’m here because I really wouldn’t be doing this without that.”
Alumni Association president Chris Elliston hopes the show will help get more former students engaged with the school. He said it’s pretty impressive that both the professionals and amateurs in the show at some point felt inspired by the ESD art department.
“We’ve always had this kind of sleepy art community that’s been undiscovered,” Elliston said.
Eddie Eason has worked at ESD in various capacities since 1982. Every artist in the show crossed paths with him at some point. Seeing all of these students showcasing their talents makes him proud.
“That was the beauty of the ESD education they received. It was such a liberal arts experience,” Eason said. “I’m just really happy that they continue to do it.”