Student artists create pieces like no other!


Benjamin Evans

Benjamin Evans took a film photograph on silver-gelatin paper for Darkroom Photography.

Most VHHS students associate school projects with slideshows, public speaking, and working in teams, but for students that take art electives, creative projects are a part of their curriculum that differ from the standard ‘school project.’ Classes such as Darkroom Photography, AP Portfolio, and Art Exploration have allowed students to blossom in their creativity, with showstopping art pieces that have been featured in art shows and displayed throughout the school.


Amanda Rakers (11) has always been interested in fashion. When she took AP Portfolio, she chose to create a sustainable clothing piece out of unconventional materials. 

“I wanted to make something colorful so I decided to use paint swatches from Lowe’s to make a dress,” said Rakers.

 The process began with creating a foundation. 

“The structure of the dress is made out of cardboard and then I glued and layered the paint swatches on it,” she said.

Rakers worked on the piece every day for 4 months and she even worked on holidays. Now that the dress is finished, it’s been displayed during Freshman Orientation and featured in the art classroom for all to see.

When Benjamin Evans (12) learned how to use a toy film camera in Darkroom Photography, the last thing he expected was to be featured in the Illinois High School Art Exhibition.

 “It was the first assignment of the year and it was about figuring out how to get the camera to work and I ended up sticking with it through the year. You need to own a film camera in class, so they give you a toy camera to teach you how to take film photos and that’s what my photo was taken with,” said Evans. 

Evans’ photography focuses on nature shots and the black and white photo was taken right as the sun was rising. The photo was featured in IHSAE (Illinois High School Art Exhibition). 

Evans continues to shoot nature film photography outside of the class. His biggest advice to VHHS students is to take Darkroom.

“We need more people to get it off the ground and it’s such a cool class,” he said.


Ayesha Alang (9) created a scary piece unlike any other. It began in Art Exploration, where the assignment was to create a paper mache monster.

“I started off the sketching and then [took] wire and built the general shape,” they said.

Once that step was completed, she was able to cover the shape in foil and start being creative with the paint and other materials added to the piece. 

“My project specifically had a lot of different pieces branching out of it, so it took a long time to actually go through that and cover it all up. Especially with adding all the teeth and the eyes, so I would say mine took longer than others,” said Alang. 

Originally, they were going for an octopus-like creature, but the end result ended up looking like a tree branch, which was a nice surprise for Alang.

“The really cool thing about it is that you can turn it around and it’ll stand in a bunch of different ways. There’s many ways to look at it like flipping it around and it looks different every time,” Alang said.