Savannah Leao ’19 is in her element; an idea she has been thinking about and planning all year is, at last, coming to reality.
This fall, when speaking with Ms. Bride about her love for art and her Cape Verde community, an idea began developing. What if Savannah could create an art show about community, a show that might be able to draw her communities together, each learning about the others.
Initialy the two thought about hosting the show in New Bedford, Leao’s hometown, at the Co-Creative Center, inviting participants from New Bedford Public Schools and Tabor; but Leao decided to look a bit closer to her heart. She wanted to focus on her most beloved communities: Tabor, Our Sisters’ School (her middle school in New Bedford) and the Cape Verdean community.
What has taken shape is a nice collaboration between Tabor and OSS, one that has been growing over the years since we first began accepting students from the 5-8th grade prep school. In the past, Tabor students have tutored OSS students in music, math, and more, as well as invited them for various student-led learning opportunities on campus. For this effort, OSS girls are co-collaborators with Leao on this show, enhancing our connections through art.
Leao invited the OSS students to join her project through a letter to OSS’s current art teacher, Ms. Eugenio. She invited the OSS community to contribute works of art in any medium to a joint show with Tabor students called “What’s Your Community?” The hope is to highlight the concept of community and to raise funds through sales or donations to support the youth of Cape Verde Island through the non-profit Our Children, Our Future which provides clothing, and school supplies to the children in Cape Verde.
Working closely with Tabor’s art teacher, Tricia Smith, Leao has curated the show after receiving over 40 pieces from 20 artists from Tabor and OSS. “Without Ms. Smith, I don’t know if I would have gone this far. She has helped me so much.” With input from Smith and Eugenio, Leao has used the artist’s statements to help her decide between some of the more subjective pieces to be sure they met her theme. “I didn’t want to judge pieces just on how they looked, because for some there is much more behind a piece.” Smith and Leao will work together to frame each piece, and then design and hang the show. In this process, Leao will need to consider how each piece can best be displayed considering lighting, placement in the gallery, and what pieces are located near others so that each piece draws the eye while together they communicate the intended theme of Community.
In closing, Leao shared a bit about what it all means, “I feel really proud that I get to help my country, essentially. I was born in America, but my parents are both immigrants. I have visited Cape Verde four times as we have a lot of family there, so the Cape Verdean community is very close to my heart. I wanted to do something to give back and, until now, I didn’t really know what to do. I love art, so this show is bringing everything that I love together, it is just a perfect project for me.”
Come enjoy the opening of Savannah’s joint show with OSS called “What’s Your Community?” It will be open from 5:00-7:00 PM on April 26 and will remain in the Braitmayer Gallery for several weeks.