Covid-Era Portfolios


Sophia GoldbergDoyle, Senior Editor

On certain days at Manchester High, a walk down the stretch of a hallway from the senior lot to the auditorium will meet you with the thick smells of paints, clay, charcoal, and various mediums that evoke images of students working carefully and thoughtfully on their newest art pieces.

The progression of artists at MHS is a committed and gradual process. Exploring which of the many artistic mediums one may like, making and collecting work for a portfolio as the senior year approaches – it’s a multifaceted involvement to devote oneself to visual arts at the high school.

For students who spent a large part of their artistic education in the midst of a pandemic at home, it’s turned into a far more unique experience than usual, as they now navigate the process of portfolio building while having been in and out of distance learning for so long.

Lauren Kennedy, a senior art student at MHS, spoke about some of her trials and tribulations throughout her time progressing with art at the high school. 

When COVID first hit during Sophomore year, I was in a pottery class and we were in the middle of creating coil pots. And since we were put into quarantine, we couldn’t finish them,” Lauren explained. “As an art student that can be very challenging because I am then unable to finish what I started and create something complete.”

COVID may have halted some of the hands-on projects Lauren began, but she was still able to have copious amounts of growth and improvement despite that. 

“Freshman year was my first drawing class, and once I had completed the course, I was eager to improve and take what I’ve learned to become better at drawing. I was also able to take the advanced drawing course last year during Hybrid, and while difficult with it being hybrid, I was able to have fun and get even better.”

As Lauren spent her years exploring the expanse of artistic mediums provided at MHS, she was able to find forms that resonated with her. She’s an artist in all regards, but she explains her favorite, “…sculpture – or something that is more hands-on, like pottery…I love being able to create things and watch them come to life. I enjoy being able to make pots, or little sculptures of animals, or plants, everything and anything I can think of. Creating things with my hands is what I really enjoy being able to do.” 

Senior year proposes unique new opportunities and responsibilities for Manchester High’s committed artists. Student artists begin the process of creating and collecting a diverse range of personal pieces to formulate their portfolios. For seniors in the class of 2022, some of their most vital years were spent in and out of remote and in-person learning environments. But, as evidenced by Lauren’s early stages of a portfolio, the seniors have made do. 

“Beginning to make a portfolio was difficult because I had to find ways to show off my skills and what I can do,” Lauren explains,  “And I haven’t finished it or anything, but I am working on it…it helped me find out what I want to show the world through my art.”

Within her portfolio class, Lauren has already begun to create something that she wants to show the world. Her favorite piece is incomplete, but currently in the works. Still, she shares her art piece from her advanced drawing class last year and explains that it’s one she’s most proud of.

“One of my favorites would have to be something I made during my advanced drawing class.  It is a skeleton covered by fabric, and the light was positioned just the right way to show some of the skeleton peeking through.  It’s my favorite because I spent a lot of time working on it, and I enjoyed working on it, especially since I was able to make it during Hybrid.”

Lauren is just one of the many seniors who are bringing their incredible artistic growth from MHS and into the world. After 4 very odd years in the midst of COVID-19, the senior artists are ready to continue creating and growing as they explore the creative potential of the world.