Truman High School principal Ronda Scott, who says it is as important to interact with students outside of the classroom as it is at school, was one of the first to arrive at a recent art reception for Truman students at Art Squared on the Independence Square.

While the art is no longer available to the public because of COVID-19 closures, it will remain hanging so patrons can enjoy someday soon.

As she viewed the art, she started a conversation with sophomore Viviana Valentine, whose psychedelic portrait of Jim Morrison, the late singer of the Doors, jumped off the wall with its vibrant colors.

“I love this event,” Scott said, as she visited with the students who were taking so much in showing friends and relatives their work. “I look forward to it every year. It’s fun to see the parents’ reaction to their children’s pieces of art.”

Valentine grinned when asked about her work.

“I have a very cool friend who told me about the Doors, and I really like their music,” she said, as other patrons took notice of her art. “Don’t tell anyone, but I listened to Doors music in class when I did this work.”

Scott, overhearing the comment, grinned and said, “I don’t think you’ll get in trouble when you create something like this.”

Truman art and photography teachers Aaron Starek, Samantha Kroll and Jeff Bertoncin mingled with their students and enjoyed seeing the parents’ reactions to the pieces of art.

“This is such a great opportunity for our students to display their art somewhere other than the classroom or hallways at Truman,” Starek said. “There is a lot of quality work here at Art Squared.”

Kroll agreed.

“We had a lot of snow days this year, and that took away a lot of the time our students could work on their art,” Kroll said, “so I’m thrilled with what we have here. It’s so impressive, and it’s all done by our students. I’m so proud of them.”

Bertoncin teaches sculpture, and likes the variety of art that lines the hallways of Art Squared.

“To have our students’ art on display in a gallery is so special,” Bertoncin said. “We look forward to this event every year.”

As patrons look at the art, Elizabeth Carver’s grandfather, Ben Hoke, takes a photo of his granddaughter posing next to her relief mask as grandmother Marilyn Hoke and her mother, Melissa Carver, look on.

“We could do anything we wanted and I did this relief piece of art because I thought it would be fun, and be challenging,” said Carver, a junior. “I just sketched the details and then used pencils to create the mask.”

Freshman Mayeli Vargas created a Peter Max-type painting that was inspired by a poem.

“I really like how it came out,” Vargas said. “It’s multi-layered and I like the effect of the ashes and how they look like they’re burning through the paper.”