San Benito High School students check out their classmates’ artistic creations at a May 26 event on campus in Hollister. Photo: Michael Moore
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Art students at San Benito High School spent the year learning how to use their abilities and education to create helpful resources, solve problems and work together on any project that comes their way.

About 500 Baler art students got a chance to show off their results on campus May 26 at the annual SBHS Visual and Applied Arts event. The show included numerous display elements from different levels of art classes, from beginner to advanced, according to SBHS VAPA Educator Christina Ross.

Beginning arts students displayed their prototypes of fashionable shoes they created out of a variety of materials. Culinary arts students baked cookies that they shared with their classmates and visitors. Advanced Placement artists were assigned to produce any type of work they wanted that demonstrated the skills they learned in class, and these works were on display at the May 26 event.

Ross assigned her advanced art students an awareness campaign supporting any cause of their choice to present at the show. Students presented the campaigns at individual booths May 26, with fliers, coloring pages, QR code links to their websites and other literature.

SBHS sophomore Lillyanna Gonzalez’ campaign focused on breast cancer awareness. Gonzalez did the project in honor of her grandmother, who died of breast cancer several years ago. Gonzalez’ website included information on how to recognize the warning signs of breast cancer.

Junior Eduardo Cervantes’ campaign is titled “The Deep Clean,” focusing on reducing the pollution of the world’s waterways. “The oceans are really dirty, and we’re trying to bring attention to it,” Cervantes said.

Other students presented campaigns to raise awareness of violence against women, Native American history, human trafficking and the deteriorating state of the nation’s public education.

Ross explained how awareness campaigns utilize many aspects of applied and visual art. Earlier in the year, she invited an expert from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to help teach the class about marketing and pop up shops, and how to draw people into a shop or business.

Ross taught the class how to develop a mission, goals and key points for their campaign. They learned how to make posters and fliers, and how to create “walkable, wearable” art such as coloring pages and buttons that customers or visitors can take with them so they will continue to think about the product or cause that is advertised.

The students also learned how to use research and reputable sources to support their cause.

“I like to assign the awareness campaigns because I like to have the kids focused on how they can change the world, because that’s what they’re going to do after they graduate,” Ross said.

Ross, who also volunteers on the City of Hollister’s Arts and Culture Commission, added, “I like to teach my students that art is everywhere—it’s not just painting in the studio—and they can apply it in many ways.”

At the conclusion of the May 26 show, Ross said she was pleased with the interest shown in the creations and projects by students passing by from other classes. She was impressed with the arts students’ willingness and ability to collaborate and “engage with each other” to help present their assignments in the most appealing way they could.

“I like for them to see what skills they have that can be helpful and then reach out to others,” Ross said. “We’re not all masters, and when we start to collaborate that’s really what builds a good community.”

Advanced art students Jose Patino and Kristine Ramos talk to their classmates about their awareness campaign, “Acknowledge Native American History.” Photo: Michael Moore
San Benito High junior Kiana Woods displays the shoe that she created for her beginning art class at the May 26 arts event on campus. Photo: Michael Moore
Eduardo Cervantes, right, talks to a classmate about his campaign to clean the oceans at the May 16 arts event at San Benito High School. Photo: Michael Moore
Some of the works that were on display at the May 26 event at San Benito High School. Photo: Michael Moore
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