Kennebunk High School senior Sarah Dunham, an International Baccalaureate visual arts student, mulls placement of her work prior to a show that took place on Friday, April 9 Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNK – Ask each of the five students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate visual arts program at Kennebunk High School how many years they’ve been making art, and most of them will say for as long as they can remember.

But that is where the similarity ends, because art is a vast ocean of thought and expression, and each of the students has their own thing – their own path, their own way to show what they like, or what they think, or what’s in their head that they want others to see.

Danny Mereness was among Kennebunk High School International Baccalaureate visual art program students displaying works at the April 9 show. Tammy Wells photo

The students – Hope Hoffman, Phebe Grant, Sarah Durham, Taylor Creech and Danny Mereness – showed their work Friday, April 9 at The Loft space at Quest Fitness.

The annual show is a key part of the IB visual arts program, said teacher Katie Mooney.

It is a chance to show what they can do – and a rare public event during this coronavirus pandemic. But The Loft space is large, the students display spaces were far distant from each other, and masks were required.

The Kennebunk Post stopped by prior to the show, as the students were hanging their works.

Sarah Durham arranged a framed photo in her art space and then another, and looked intently at the pair of them, deciding if they were arranged exactly the way she wanted them.

She’s engaged not only in making visual art, but enjoys acting as well.

Hope Hoffman, a student in the IB visual arts program at Kennebunk High School, pauses for a photo as she and others hung their works before an exhibition April 9. Tammy Wells Photo

“I like experimenting,” with art, she said, but lately, that has not been easy.

“It’s hard to get supplies when you’re not in-person in school,” she said. “I struggled with that.” Durham said the supply crunch is why some of her art is digital, produced on an iPad, like her self-portrait.

Hoffman, who designed the murals for The Loft space – creating large images that ranged from colorful and energetic in an area of the space where bicycle spinning classes take place to a lighter, less intense images of leaves and vines in the yoga space.

Her focus for the show is light and shadow, and the sun cast through the day and the variations that creates, said Hoffman.

She’s been drawing since she could hold a pencil and has been enrolled in advanced art classes for years.

“IB Art allows me to look at a variety of mediums,” said Phebe Grant, explaining she’s been examining photos of memories and moments and using them in her prints.

Taylor Creech with some of her works featured in a KHS IB visual arts show at The Loft at Quest Fitness on Friday, April 9. Tammy Wells photo

And while lives have changed this past year, due to the pandemic, Grant said it has played a role in her art life in a positive way.

She works in watercolor, does block printing, and a couple of T-shirt designs – including a map of Maine, she drew by hand.

“It has let me slow down and focus on art,” she said of the pandemic.

Danny Mereness has been working in acrylics, block printing and with pen and ink, both on display at the show, for some time. The pieces range to the use of a small bit of color to the most, an exploration, said Mereness, of color and mood.

“I’ve branched out with more color this year,” Mereness said.

Creech is among others who has been working in digital art.

“When I first started, I hated digital and now, it’s basically all-digital,” she said.

Creech’s art speaks to nature. One particularly piece shows an individual with someone else’s hand clamped over their mouth, and the individual is pulling the hand away – to speak up about the environment, she said.

All five of the students are seniors, and have plans for next year.

A Maine map, drawn by hand, featuring the sunrise, the coast, and the land in between was among the works by Kennebunk High School IB visual arts student Phebe Grant. Five IB students displayed their work at a show on April 9. Tammy Wells photo

Mereness will go on a gap year with a friend, exploring the western U.S.

Creech plans to attend Westfield State University in Massachusetts, majoring in business – and maybe minoring in graphic design.

Durham is headed for college – and plans to visit potential schools during April vacation.

Hoffman said she hasn’t decided on a college major, but will likely choose a design program.

Grant plans to attend Houghton College in Caneadea, New York, majoring in art and minoring in psychology.

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