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More in Community
'Bloom' big success, shows change, community
What starts as a spark and grows into a full-blown fire?
A ripple in the water can turn into a big wave that overtakes everything else. A seed, with water and sun, grows into a beautiful, significant flower.
On May 4 at 6 p.m., students of the Graphic Design class of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School put on an art show called “Bloom.”
Featuring past and present student creations, the show focused on change — as a poster on the door said: “In order for our community to continue to flourish we must sustain our youth and preserve our community without the help of miracle grow or botox.”
There were several different concepts at the show. The moment you walked in, to the left were several photo series. Students took pictures of something that meant a great deal to them and each series had a recurring theme.
One student, senior Mimi Baumhoff, took a photo series, each picture showing a boy and a girl, each wearing white with a bold word screen-printed onto their shirt. Each word was a stereotype that girls think about boys, and vice versa.
“It’s supposed to get rid of those stereotypes that boys have about girls and girls have about boys. It took a long time, but it definitely came together,” said Baumhoff.
The show also featured several members of the community, who create change through some of the things they do, such as Scott Berk, owner of Café Nomad; Katey Branch, who runs the Alan Day Community Garden and helps promote healthier eating within our community; and Kevin Daley, teacher at OHCHS who runs the Alternative Ed Program. Each member’s image hung from the ceiling and had a description on the back explaining what they do to help the community, along with a few quotes about change.
Richard Cormier, another graphics teacher at the high school, is the president of Project Graduation and he was featured in the show.
Cormier said he really enjoyed seeing all the creative things that the students created, and he believes that “people have blinders on and there are things that need change.”
Another featured community member, Brewster Burns, works with hundreds of kids a day.
“You can help instigate change when you work with that many kids,” Burns said. Burns works in the school, and oversees everything having to do with the senior projects, which each senior must pass in order to graduate.
“The United States used to be economically vibrant, and the only way to get that back is to retool which will take change,” he said.
The far wall was also covered in what many of the students called “quilt tiles.” Students cut out a symbol that many people recognize, such as the Facebook symbol (a social media site), and several religious symbols, and covered them in a patterned fabric.
There was also an interactive wall with the message: “If you had one wish to change anything, what would it be?” in bold, creative colors. During the course of the opening night, several people had the chance to go up and write what they would change.
Suzanne Best, a norway resident, said she enjoyed “Bloom.”
“It’s awesome,” Best said. “Change is very important because there are lots of things that need to be changed.” Best also said that it was great to see the young people behind the art show.
“We need more cooperation between the young people; more sharing, more thinking outside the box," she said.
Virginia Valdes, graphics teacher of eight years, and the teacher who headed up “Bloom,” says she got her inspiration from things happening in other places.
Back in 2010, in Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year old fruit and vegetable seller, set himself on fire after the police took his cart because he didn’t have a permit to sell those goods. He died from his injuries, and protests spread nationwide. On December 27, 2010, people rioted with the residents of Sidi Bouzid, where Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolation had taken place.
Things only escalated from there. From one tiny spark came rioting from all over the world. This was one of the things that inspired Valdes to put on an art show entirely focused around positive change and how change happens.
She also wanted to focus on how important change is for our community.
“I think change is important. You need to have change because if you don’t have change your narrow minded,” Valdes explained. “I’m not saying every change is great. There’s some where a town is destroyed, factories close, and everyone moves away.
"That's bad change. That’s why the name [of the show] is 'Bloom' because you bloom from a seed to a flower, then you die. So you go through this metamorphosis, and you’re constantly changing. It’s good for teens to know that we all need to change.”
Valdes also explained that there’s good change in our town, like through the rebuilding of the Gingerbread House and Norway Downtown.
One student that Valdes had high praise for was Ian Allen. Allen, a junior, created a photo series featuring a glass vine slowly snaking its way more and more into the photo.
Allen had blown the glass vine himself, and knew exactly what he wanted to do when Valdes first proposed the project. Valdes also had high praise for Allen.
“Ian knew what he wanted to do. Those [photos] were fabulous. He’s a great student," she said.
Allen also won with his design for the Sebago Long Lake Music Festival Design Competition.
The show is at the Fare Share Common throughout the month of May.