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 Student Artwork Opens Doors to San Diego Museum of Art

artwork of a lightbulb Turn Off the LightImagine you are an elementary student and you are told that your artwork is going to be exhibited at a major city museum, cover one of 25 utility boxes in San Diego County, and enable you to speak with an award-winning screenwriter and the illustrator of Harry Potter book jackets? You might be just a little excited. Well, the artwork of elementary students from Solana Pacific School and the Solana Beach School District's Online Scholars has been accepted as part of the San Diego Museum of Art's (SDMA) upcoming exhibit, "Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet."

The environmentally-themed artwork from 10 Solana Pacific onsite students and SBSD Online Scholars students in grades 4-6 was selected by the SDMA for its exhibit in Balboa Park, which runs from March 26 to May 9, 2021. The following students will have their artwork exhibited:

  • 4th grade SBSD Onsite Scholars — Sierra Liu, Kai Shaprut, Katelyn Zeng
  • 5th grade Onsite Scholars — Gabriela Morillo Dal Piccol, Pela Hadley, Mia Lopez
  • 6th grade Onsite Scholars — Kenzo Karres, Cici Mei
  • 6th grade Online Scholars — Maya Krishnan, Purvi Jain

"Children are continuing to find their voices and share them with others, whether through art or other endeavors," said Superintendent Jodee Brentlinger. "I am so proud of our talented students for allowing us to  be a part of their journey to wonder and discover in both learning and life. I'm also grateful to our teachers and Solana Beach Schools Foundation members who support and nurture art and creativity."

artwork of a fish in the ocean eating trashTwo of these students were also selected to participate in the unique driving/biking art tour, called "The Young Art Outside the Frame!" which is a partnership between the SDMA, SDG&E, and Mindful Murals that seeks to enliven public spaces and transform sometimes unsightly infrastructure into a canvas for public art. The SDMA and Mindful Murals have organized a diverse team of local artists to cover 25 SDG&E utility boxes with interpretations of select works of art by students featured in the exhibition. 6th-grade Solana Pacific student, Cici Mei, created a piece called "Turn Off the Light," which will be reinterpreted for the "Young Art Outside the Frame!" utility box installation. The second art piece to be featured on one of 25 utility boxes is from Solana Pacific 5th-grade student, Gabriela Morillo, who created a mixed media piece, "My Sustainability Art Project." A digital map that includes student information (artwork title, student school, and grade level), utility box location, and muralist's name will be available at by March 26.

Finally, one of the 10 students was also selected to be featured in conversation with Caldecott Medal author, screenwriter and artist Brian Selznick at the SDMA virtual Friday Guest Lecture, "I Am Here: Telling Stories Through Art," on March 19, at 10 a.m. 6th-grade Solana Pacific student, Cici Mei, will be among those student artists featured in the guest lecture. Mr. Selznick, a part-time resident of San Diego, is the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of the New York Times bestseller The Invention of Hugo Cabret, adapted into Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning movie Hugo, as well as illustrator of the 20th anniversary covers of the Harry Potter book jackets.

For Solana Pacific Art Instructor, Sheri Burkhart, selecting just five art pieces per grade level to submit was the most difficult part. "The students I work with are incredibly creative and open, and it is so important to encourage all students in this area of their lives," said Mrs. Burkhart. "I love the work done by SDMA and greatly appreciate the amount of guidance and outreach they offer to both youth and educators within the San Diego community."

"We are so proud of all of our student submissions, as well as how motivated these students were by the topic of preserving our Earth's precious resources," said Elisa Fregoso, Principal of Solana Pacific School. "The artwork created by all students was thoughtfully prepared and exhibited tremendous reflection and insight into the theme thanks to Mrs. Burkhart's artful guidance and motivation."

The artwork of several other Solana Pacific students' was selected by Mrs. Burkhart for Honorable Mention among her several classes. Those students are:

  • 4th grade — Nandita Anantharaman, Johanan Babu
  • 5th grade — Alex Zhang, Andrew Jahng
  • 6th grade OLS — Judy Zhu

The news of student artwork being shared across the community is a source of excitement and pride throughout the District. "It makes my heart so happy that our students are moved to communicate their convictions through art in this way," said Dr. Jennifer Goldston, director of the Solana Beach School District's Instructional Services Educational Technology Department.