We heart art


Used with permission from Young Artists of America

YAA cast members take their final bow after paying tribute to Broadway producer Harold Prince during their spring show.

Maya Greenblum, Reporter


Sophomore Abby Chesman visualizes a new piece for her photography class, and starts to assemble a combination of original photos and photos from the internet into a collage. But what Chesman doesn’t know is that she will eventually submit this dynamic piece to United States Representative Jamie Raskin’s annual Congressional Art Competition, and will be chosen to compete for the ultimate prize — her art’s exhibition at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Chesman spent two weeks synthesizing 30 layers of political photography for her collage, titled “Polarized,” that she submitted to Raskin’s competition. Chesman was one of 61 high school students to be selected to compete and have her art displayed in the VisArts gallery exhibition in Rockville from April 26 to May 7. Freshman Caleb Horwitz and junior Maddie Polonsky were also chosen.

“I feel like my passion for politics really drove me to submit to this competition,” Chesman said. “That’s something that [the judges are] looking for, especially in young people nowadays. [They encourage] speaking out about politics and about the state of the world because they always say it’s up to our generation to change things.”

Photography and film teacher and Diversity Equity Inclusion and Justice coordinator Debra Dilworth has been instrumental in guiding Chesman through her photography career for nearly four years and encourages her, along with all of her photography students, to enter competitions when they come up.


Junior Jonathan Gould enjoys various types of visual art and has a particular interest in a more unusual medium for a high school student. Sculpture or stone carving can depict multidimensional ideas and is one of the main types of both visual and fine arts. When Gould was just beginning to sculpt, he attended sculpting classes at Glen Echo Park, an arts and cultural center.

One of Gould’s abstract works, a cubic stone made entirely of Texas limestone, was displayed at Glen Echo’s studio for an art show from the end of February to the end of March. Gould’s family has been visiting Glen Echo Park since he was a kid, and the establishment has been supporting Gould in his artistic pursuits since then. Gould was first exposed to this kind of artwork from his mom’s shared passion of sculpture.

“I definitely draw a lot of my own style from my mom. Both just because I’m related to her, but also because I’ve grown up seeing her art,” Gould said. “My stones are further defined by her advice.”

Gould’s mom has managed the art show hosted by Glen Echo. Gould’s mom has sculpted for decades, and because of her extensive experience, is able to give Gould advice when it comes to sculpture. Sculpture became her main artistic focus as a hobby after college, and she has influenced Gould’s passion through her own since. The advice ranges from what points to accentuate on his stone to practical questions like how to stabilize his stone at a certain angle.


Freshman Bee Kotler is particularly interested in performing arts. Kotler has been performing with Young Artists of America (YAA), a non-profit theater program for students in grades five to 12, for three years. Kotler was initially encouraged to join the program by freshman Ella Arking and collaborates with sophomore Jessica Rosenberg and seventh grader Ayla Gerstenblith.

YAA has fueled Kotler’s passion for the performing arts. Kotler has advanced their artistic skills greatly, especially in the leading role in YAA’s production of “Madagascar Jr.” as Alex The Lion.

“They [YAA] always say, ‘process over product,’’ Kotler said. “I’ve definitely gotten better at reading my surroundings [on stage]. Like during the show when I’m just with a scene partner and communicating while still being in the moment.”

Kotler is just one of many high school students nurturing their artistic passions through programs and competitions. Kotler is certain that they will pursue theater in the future.

“I found a new sense of community ever since I joined YAA because everybody there is so loving,” Kotler said. “When you’re onstage, you can leave all your worries behind and you can really focus on the arts … I feel very passionate.”