Connecticut Art School hosts senior exhibit

By Martha Marteney-Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Apr. 13, 2011
Keith Nielsen took this piece to the national portfolio day, where it was professionally critiqued and compared to a Matisse. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Keith Nielsen took this piece to the national portfolio day, where it was professionally critiqued and compared to a Matisse. Photos by Martha Marteney.

The Connecticut Art School held a special graduation art exhibit for three of its students; Haley Stambo, Ashley Soule and Keith Nielsen. These three high school seniors all started with the Connecticut Art School when it was first founded in 2003. The opening reception was held on April 9 at Village at Buckland Court, where the exhibit will be on display for two weeks.

Sharon Cavanaugh is the school’s founder and one of the four current art teachers. She describes the school’s curriculum as a progression, meaning the children first start with guided projects featuring specific techniques. As the students progress, more choices are left to the individual. “In school, there’s so much that’s the right answer,” said Cavanaugh, that she likes to develop the child’s decision-making abilities along with his creative outlet. But, she clarified, “You need to know the rules of art first.”

“The medium I really like is colored pencils and charcoal,” said Stambo, who is a senior at South Windsor High School, adding that she likes to do the shading. While she said many would describe her art as cartoony, the exhibit shows a wide range of projects completed throughout her eight years at the school. Stambo will be going to Manchester Community College for design studies. According to Cavanaugh, MCC has the strongest art program of the state’s community colleges.

Nielsen, a senior at East Catholic High School, remembers that he used to view the world as lines, but now sees everything as shadows and shapes. “Connecticut Art School has really helped with this, and in getting me into my dream college,” said Nielson. He will be attending the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida as a business of art and design major. His favorite medium is charcoal, and he is especially proud of his first major charcoal portrait. Speaking about Cavanaugh, Nielsen said, “Every week she challenges us to do something new.”

“I really don’t remember why I first went to the school,” admitted Soule, a South Windsor High School senior, “but I’m glad I did.” She is thinking of a career in marketing or advertising, where she will be able “to get people’s attention with color.” She describes her work as neat and organized. Her favorite piece in the exhibit is based on a photograph of Soule and her cat. Even though she changed the colors in the painting, it is both realistic and stylized.

The Connecticut Art School will host a community art walk at six South Windsor locations on May 8 and May 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. both days. For more information about this event, as well as the classes offered, visit the Connecticut Art School website at or call 860-432-3773.


Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.