Happen/Stance, the newest exhibit in North Shore Country Day’s John Almquist Gallery, is a tiny invitational celebrating former faculty member Jackie Melissas and featuring a small sampling of her many students: Joanne Avery ’90, Chris Davis ’00, Ben Tullman ’06, Cindy Taylor Mooers ’08, Shaun Teamer ’08 and Clayton Cottingham ’14.
Melissas explained that she didn’t want to do a solo show. “It just didn't feel OK in this space, in this community,” she said. “But bringing it together with the kids—I just love it. It makes me feel like my work has life.”
In her 33 years as an art teacher at North Shore, from 1980 to 2013, Melissas worked with hundreds of students. For this exhibit, she chose just a handful who she had mentored in some way, or with whom she had kept in touch over the years.
“I tried to think of a variety of positions, locations in life and media to just give a sample, she explained. “So it's just the six people out of many.”
The exhibit showcases the work of a digital artist, a furniture-maker, a textile artist, a photographer, a glassmaker and a painter. Melissas’ ceramic sculptures and other pieces are scattered throughout.
A more inclusive alumni showcase is in the works for next year’s centennial celebration. “There are a lot of serious artists who went through our program,” Melissas said. “There’s a lot of giftedness in so many areas, and these people are out there doing it. It’s a gutsy thing to do. This is not an easy field. But there are lots more.”
An opening reception for Happen/Stance will be held during Homecoming weekend on Friday, Sept. 28, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. The exhibit runs through Dec. 6 and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment. All gallery visitors must check in at the main reception desk in the Upper School.
North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919. With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.