Credit: Jack Feltes, Photography by Feltes

Wednesday, Nov. 6, the Oswego Fine Arts Department hosted the Chicagoland 4×5 Art Show. Student artists from all over the Chicagoland area flocked to Oswego to display their art throughout the hallways of Oswego High School. Out of the 30 OHS students selected, 12 managed to qualify for three second-place awards, one third-place honor, and nine honorable mentions.

The show consisted of pieces of art that had to fit on a four inch by five inch canvas. However, just not any pieces of work were displayed. The students who had their work up at the show received an invite as far back as last spring.

All pieces included in the show must fit the four inch by five inch specification, and each of the nine art categories have more specific requirements based on the medium. The categories include, Painting, Drawing, Digital and Analog Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Relief, Mixed Media, and Computer Generated Imagery. A total of 62 schools competed, 49 of which being high schools, and 13 junior high schools. Schools can submit up to 30 pieces of art, and artists can be entered an unlimited amount of times.

“The Blue One,” among many others in the Painting category, were intricately designed for this competition. “The Blue One” resulted in a third-place award for junior Karly Quarnstrom. Credit: Jamani Reed, 42Fifty

The parameters of four inches by five inches proves to be a restriction for these artists, who usually have a lot more space to express their creativity.

“It levels the playing field a little bit, because it’s a restriction that everyone has to meet,” Chicagoland 4×5 Coordinator and OHS art teacher Daniel Whipple said. “Whereas you go to most art shows, and that massive painting is bigger than anything else and is [going to] catch your eye.”

This annual show was the fifth that OHS has hosted over the years.

“It’s been around for 17 years,” Fine Arts department chair Michael Skura said about the event. “It originated at Fremd High School.”

The 4×5 has become a staple to the art community here at Oswego.

“I love being able to be a part of it,” junior Karly Quarnstrom said. She won a second-place award in the Mixed Media category for “Blind Eye,” and a third-place award in the Painting category for “The Blue One.” “This particular is probably my favorite of all year, because I get to be more involved with it.”

Quarnstrom’s “Blind Eye,” constructed from oil, acrylic paint, and stamps, won second place in the Mixed Media category. Credit: Jamani Reed, 42Fifty

The show is also an opportunity for students to be judged on and awarded for their work.

“This one was pretty special just because it was one of the first shows I’ve been in where I’ve won a pretty big award,” Quarnstrom said.

This was also the first year that junior high students could participate in the show.

“We wanted to expand the opportunities for students,” Whipple said about the new addition to the showcase. “We wanted to try and build up a greater sense of community for art students where they can come to a place and be excited about their artwork being on display, but then also see what the next step for them could be.”

The high schoolers were also excited to extend an arm to younger, budding artists.

“It was cool for me because I want to be an art teacher, [and] to see the little seeds that are being planted, and seeing how people are going to flourish,” Quarnstrom said of junior high artists. “I think it’s very beneficial for them, because a lot of them will come to OHS and see what our art program really is.”

The art program is not alone in putting on the show; they receive help and support from other areas of the fine arts department.

“I’m grateful the administration supports us, because it continues to allow OHS to be leaders in the area of fine arts. Music and choir already have established that, it’s great now that visual arts and [also] theater is coming into its own,” Skura said about the support of other programs within the school. “It’s like we have this full wheelhouse of choir, band, theater, and now visual arts that is there for everybody.”

OHS artists are now preparing for the Illinois Art Education Association Student Show taking place on Nov. 23. More information about the Oswego Visual Arts Department can be found here.

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