Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Artistic Spartans

Posted 05/02/2018 by Bianca Escobar

DPS schools come together to exhibit their students' artwork. photo by Bianca Escobar

Several students from Thomas Jefferson were accepted into the DPS All-City Art Show for their work this year.

Every year, Thomas Jefferson High School’s art teacher, Leonard Fox, along with ceramics teacher Lacye Nichols, submit students’ artwork to compete for a place in the All-City Art Show against other students in Denver Public Schools (DPS). The All-City Art Show took place at the Wellington Webb Municipal Building in downtown Denver on March 22nd.

Six students were selected to be a part of this show: seniors Sonia Pacheco-Neri, Linda Quintana, and Jazlyn Thomas, juniors Rachin Rai and Anahi Gomez, and sophomore Bianca Escobar. Qualifying is an honor for the students showcased at this event, as it demonstrates their hard work and talent. Competing is also a great opportunity to receive interesting interpretations of their art pieces. “It is an opportunity to show the district and show the outside community the talent and skills of the students in DPS,” explained Fox.

Art teachers at TJ are dedicated to developing students’ artistic skills and confidence in any area of interest, such as drawing, painting, mixed media, digital art, photography, ceramics, sculpting, and jewelry. The art pieces at the exhibition were selected based on the skill level and creativity of the students. There is a limit of three artwork submissions per student, and fifteen students per school. Due to space limitations, not all work was selected for display in the gallery. Pieces were judged by category, and the winners were offered generous scholarships by The Art Institute of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain School of Design. Unfortunately, no TJ students won a scholarship this year, but hopes are high that a Spartan will win one in the future.

Fox and Nichols believe in their students and do what they can to carry them to success in their artistic endeavors. Fox has been submitting student work for the 31 years that he has been teaching, “I feel really proud of them, because they are competing against schools that have arts as their focus. Kids that get into the School of the Arts, they have to audition, and we basically get kids that choose and have an interest in art,” Fox stated. Fox provides opportunities to each of his students by submitting at least one of their pieces into the show, and it is up to the judges whether they are accepted or not. Nichols chooses the most impressive pieces from her students and submits them, hoping that they will also be accepted into the art show.

Each student from TJ puts a lot of hard work and creativity into their art to get accepted into the art show. Thomas’ portrait of Beauty Guru James Charles, titled “Your Canvas,” was well executed, and it was her first piece to be accepted into the art show. “I felt so honored because I knew that this was an amazing opportunity for me.” Thomas added, “I was so inspired by [James Charles’] talent in makeup and starting off the new year with new creations…He inspires me everyday, just as a person and as a makeup artist. I couldn’t help but to just draw him and inspire others with my piece.” Quintana’s ceramic piece of a vase, titled “Altered Vase,” and a set of mugs, titled “Altered Mugs,” were impressive and beautiful. Pacheco-Neri created an extremely detailed, untitled pencil portrait of a girl with a barcode on her forehead, which is full of emotion. Rai did several prints, titled “Old Truck,” with a 3-Dimensional feel in various colors. Gomez also created an untitled print of a man’s profile tilting his hat in various colors. Escobar created a portrait on a scratchboard of actor Matthew Daddario, titled “Shaded,” that played with lights and darks in a unique way, creating a multi-dimensional piece.

These students are passionate about art, and the TJ curriculum allows them to express their talents with a creative outlet. Fox and Nichols push their students to express themselves through their art, which is shown when they are accepted into the All-City Art Show. Everyone has a creative side, and art classes at TJ allow students to find that and to learn more about art.