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The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Art with Heart: Latin Seniors Craft a Vision of Sustainability, Community, and Sparkle

Roxie Lara
Art by seniors Payton Rice and Elsie Cohen displayed in Gallery 2.

Latin’s senior art galleries are more than just art shows. They’re a timeless tradition and a vibrant display of creativity and sustainability. Located in Gallery 2 of the Upper School, the April collection dazzled Romans with senior Payton Rice’s eco-chic fashion and senior Elsie Cohen’s community-driven sparkle.

Payton’s portion of the gallery featured an array of recycled materials remade into clothes. “I wanted to challenge myself to make things that I thought were pretty out of garbage, leftover stuff, or recycled stuff,” she said.

Payton began sewing in second grade, and this exhibition doubled as her chance to show off and as her goodbye to Latin. “Everyone passes the gallery space every day, and it gives an opportunity to see the culmination of what your community members can do,” Payton said. “It’s like, wow, someone in our school did that. That’s cool.”

Her show used old liter bottles, soda tabs, plastic bags, hundreds of receipts, and a thrifted blanket—all reminders that one can, as Payton said, “Put what you already have in a new light.”

Elsie’s show exemplified two key aspects of her personality: her focus on her community through Latin4Lurie (L4L), and her love of all things sparkly.

“For the L4L, I want it to show that I’m not necessarily always doing it for me or for profit or anything like that. It’s a part of me that doesn’t actually give me anything other than fun,” Elsie said. “The other side is meant to be very colorful and chaotic, kind of like the ‘Trolls’ movie. I think that’s what’s going on in my head most of the time.”

And Elsie’s show truly sparkled. She rhinestoned to her heart’s content and made a pink frilly cake out of styrofoam. “[My favorite was] the 8 Ball. I think it’s so fun,” she said. Disco balls were sprinkled throughout the exhibition, enhancing the flair and dazzle of Elsie’s vision.

Elsie found inspiration everywhere. She said, “I saw stuff that I liked, and I thought, ‘I could make that too.’ And so I did.”

Another influential factor for her was the senior art show of Hugh McKee ‘23. “I took some inspiration from the way his was very dramatic and just filled with stuff. I’m kind of going for that.”

The senior art shows have gone on for more than 20 years and, in that time, have provided a chance for seniors to show the school what they’re passionate about and maybe even find some insight into themselves. Elsie said she was surprised when Upper School visual arts teacher Shannon Kerrigan recommended her “because I never thought about my stuff as art before.”

Over the years, this opportunity has given a multitude of seniors a chance to consider their time at Latin in the form of art and share it with their classmates.

“I think it’s a good sort of reflection for them,” Upper School Art Department Chair Derek Haverland said.

And with students being partnered and sharing their galleries, Payton said, “It ends up being a celebration of the artists who have put up their work. It’s admiration and appreciation for the other person.”

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About the Contributor
Roxie Lara
Roxie Lara, Staff Writer
Roxie Lara (’26) is a sophomore at Latin and is overjoyed to begin her first year at The Forum. When she’s not writing features or uncovering her next story, Roxie is having fun at a concert or rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders. She loves adventuring outdoors and discovering new music that she can listen to curled up with a good book.

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