Commercial Art students share their work at White Plains Public Library

The downtown gallery exhibit has become an annual tradition for SWBOCES art students 

students and teacher hanging artwork in a galleryAnyone visiting the White Plains Public Library this month is in for a special treat. On display in the library’s art gallery are works by students in teacher Damian Powers’ Commercial Art classes.

This is the third annual exhibit in which Mr. Powers's students have participated. This year, he noted, his students outdid themselves.

“It’s exceptional,” Mr. Powers said. "They are just super-talented students.”

The exhibit contains about 60 pieces. Students selected the ones they felt best highlighted their artistic skills. Each piece was sized and printed on a large format printer. It took Mr. Powers and his students two days to install the exhibit.

On March 3, his morning and afternoon classes visited the exhibit to finish some last-minute touches. The students put their nametags on their pieces and took in the finished installation themselves.

“I appreciated the opportunity,” student Yaeliz Baerga, a junior at New Rochelle High School, said of showing her work in public. “It feels awesome to be a part of something bigger.”

One of her pieces, she said, was a commissioned work she had done for a musician friend that ended up becoming an album cover.

students taking in an exhibit of their own artwork

Student Ife Akinbola, a senior at Valhalla High School, said he is proud of himself for the improvements he has made this year.

“I’m proud of how I transformed from creating music,” he said. “I never took drawing seriously until I got to SWBOCES.”

“The feeling I have was it keeps me motivated to create more art,” he said of having his work displayed in a public setting.

Maria Damiani, a junior at New Rochelle High School, selected four of her pieces to be displayed. “It was difficult because I like a lot of my drawings, it was kind of hard to pick,” she said.

“I like drawing and making my own characters come to life,” Maria continued. “That’s what keeps me motivated.”

She enjoys having others have an opportunity to view her work.

“Seeing people see my work and have it make them happy, that’s what I like,” she said.

Mr. Powers said the library's offer five years ago to display student work each year was one he could not refuse. Aside from the COVID period, it has become an annual tradition.

“The big thing is, this is one of the first opportunities they have to actually show their work in public,” he said. “It helps build confidence and gives them positive feedback.”

The work will be on display through March 31 and can be viewed during regular library hours at the White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Ave.