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Art Heals: The BVT Senior Perspective Featuring Chalk Art from the Resilient and Creative Class of 2021

May 27, 2021 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Visiting Artist Arielle Gordon (left), a 2017 BVT grad who is in her last semester at MA College of Art, provided constructive insight while viewing the student-artwork at the Arts Heals event.

UPTON – The Visual Arts Department at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School hosted Arts Heals: The Senior Perspective on Friday, May 7th. During the creative event, the sidewalk outside of the school transformed with color, creativity, and meaning as seniors created unique chalk murals on the theme of resilience, showcasing how art heals. The weather cooperated, and students and faculty were able to view the finished artwork.
The Art Heals event was open to all seniors, not just those taking an art class. It served as an in-school field trip for 143 seniors and a formative assessment for those enrolled in Honors Art School Prep and Senior Art Studio. Non-art students had to preregister to reserve their chalk and 3'x3' square space to create their masterpiece. All students had to submit a concept for review before participating. The creative process from concept sketches through to the final chalk murals emphasized resilience and the healing power of art. Robin Brown, LICSW, a Mental Health Counselor in the School Based Health Center, also spoke with the art classes about the importance of mental health and creativity.
Isabella Pimentel of Uxbridge, a senior in the Painting & Design Technology program, enjoyed participating. As she worked on a blue chalk circle, Pimentel said, "I had many different ideas, but the concept of human connection and the healing power of earth was something I wanted to explore. Each day in this world is a new day to learn, grow, and be resilient. When I'm having a tough day, I go outside to feel the sun on my skin. It brings me peace. I hope my artwork inspires others."
"We are immensely proud of our seniors," said Visual Arts Instructors Ashley Maclure and Kelly Garabadian. "On behalf of the Art Department, a big thank you to everyone who participated and helped make the Art Heals: The Senior Perspective event a success. We appreciate the support of our staff chaperones, our alumni mentor, and of course, our generous sponsors. The event raised over seven hundred dollars with all proceeds to benefit the mission of the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide."
Visiting Artist Arielle Gordon, a 2017 graduate of Blackstone Valley Tech, a senior in her last semester at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston had an opportunity to provide insight while viewing the artwork of Ava Lanoue of Blackstone, a senior in the Business & Entrepreneurship program. Gordon noticed Ava's shoes placed at the top of her workspace appeared as if they were ready to walk down the path of her mural. The accidental placement was a nice touch to her multimedia masterpiece. Gordon said, "It is exciting to see a thriving Art program with so many students engaged in creating meaningful Artwork."
The Art program empowers its students to make a difference by using their creative voices in their artwork. The Art Department is proud of all of the seniors who used their creativity for a cause by participating in the event to build awareness and support for teen suicide prevention to benefit the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide.
This program was supported in part by grants from the Cummings School Service Fund, the Blackstone, Millville, Northbridge, and Upton Cultural Councils, local agencies supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. For more details and to view the artwork, visit

About Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School (BVT):
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School serves the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton, and Uxbridge. Located in the heart of the Blackstone Valley, BVT creates a positive learning community that prepares students for personal and professional success in an internationally competitive society through a fusion of rigorous vocational, technical, and academic skills.




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