- Highland Junior High
Secondary Art Show to open at HD SOUTH on May 3
On May 3, 2022, Gilbert Public Schools will celebrate the young artists among us at the opening night of the Secondary Art Show, which recognizes the great work of 7th-12th grade students from across the district. Their drawings, paintings, sketches and more will go on display in Gallery 4 of HD SOUTH - Home of the Gilbert Historical Museum. The works will be at the museum for the public to see through May 17.
“It’s a beautiful venue and a really nice gallery,” said Dr. Karen Coleman, organizer of the event and the district’s K-12 Special Area and Gifted Coordinator.
Dr. Coleman says each junior high and high school will have a section of the gallery to display student art. Opening night will also include musical performances by GPS string orchestras and ensembles. Among the featured art in the gallery will be jewelry designed and created by Gilbert High School students. Shalei Webb, the school’s Visual Arts Department Chair, teaches the Metals/Jewelry courses.
“It is my love,” she said.
Webb has helped grow the program over the past two decades at Gilbert High. Students learn design, layout and fabrication of jewelry. They develop skills like welding, hot forming, etching, basic stone setting, and lost-wax casting.
“They get around and learn how to use all of the big tools within the first semester,” Webb said.
Gilbert Public Schools offers multiple Metals/Jewelry courses. Each one allows students to build upon their skills from the previous course. Students end up creating rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and pendants. While Webb helps them with technique, the students are responsible for using their own creativity to come up with original designs. Webb says the process is a lot more challenging than some might think.
“They have to learn how to be good designers first, because if they aren’t good designers then nothing else will follow through,” she said.
As a result, the students end up with some phenomenal jewelry, and they develop a real love for the craft. Some of Webb’s students go on to pursue design careers, but even more take the skills that they’ve learned in the Metals/Jewelry courses and apply them to other industries like dentistry. Webb finds that a large number of her students come back to making jewelry later on in life.
“What I see happening is that they use me as a resource in their later years when they come back to it as a hobby. It’s just something that makes their life joyful,” she said.
The students learn just as many soft skills as they do hard skills in the course. Webb believes making jewelry teaches students the art of perseverance.
“One of the biggest things that they learn from my class is how to fail up, because you can’t do something like that and not screw up a few times. You have to learn from your lessons where you’ve messed up and you have to move on. Change your design, so that it fits your mistake,” she said.
Webb will have a jewelry display case featuring her students’ original work at the Secondary Art Show. For students who are interested, Metals/Jewelry courses are offered at Gilbert High School and Mesquite High School. You can visit the schools for a tour or enroll today to learn more!
The Secondary Art Show is happening May 3-17, 2022 at HD SOUTH located at 10 S Gilbert Road in Gilbert, AZ. Opening night is May 3 from 5pm to 8pm and it is free to visitors. Those who would like to see the student artwork on another day will need to pay the museum’s entrance fee to access the gallery during business hours.