David Nickerson photo/Telegraph-Journal

SJHS plans exhibition of alumni who are artists

by Sandra Davis - Wednesday, November 3, 2004

This article is courtesy of Telegraph-Journal

Miller Brittain, Jack Humphrey, Suzanne Hill and Herzl Kashetzky are all well-known artists, but what people may not realize is that they are all Saint John High School alumni.

They are, however, just a handful of professional artists who have graced the halls of SJHS at one time or another.

Principal Barry Harbinson and local artists and SJHS grads, Peter Buckland and Lynn Wigginton, believe there are many more and are trying to track them down.

Their goal is to have an exhibition of paintings by professional student and teacher artists at the Saint John Arts Centre as part of the school's bi-centennial celebrations that begin next month.

They have their sites set on May and already have costs of the exhibition covered by former grad and Student Council president Chris Valardo of Manual Life. So now the task is to track down other artists.

Ms. Wigginton and Mr. Buckland have been pouring over a three-inch thick, 320-page stack of eight-and-one-half by 14-inch paper containing the names of some 19,000 graduates.

Some names, like Christian Nicholson and John Pottle, jump right out at them. Others, they fear, might not be so obvious, so they are asking the public's help in tracking them down.

"We'd like to get them to submit a significant piece on loan for the exhibition," said Mr. Harbinson, who will also talk to the museum about borrowing art.

Ms. Wigginton is confident there are names in the visual-arts field that are hidden away. The team is also interested in tracking down artists who work in the installation style and in film.

"There are all different ways that people have shown their artistic talent," said Ms. Wigginton.

"There will be a cross-section of visual artists. It will be interesting to see how visual art has changed over 200 years. What was challenging as art in the 1800s may not be now. It will be like walking into an art history textbook."

Saint John High School's bi-centennial celebration begins Dec. 4 with an unveiling of a 250-page history during the school's annual fund-raising bazaar that features a French cafe, music, bake sale and silent auction.

Other highlights of the bi-centennial celebration are events planned for summer, including a grand reunion that will take place over several days and feature a wine and cheese, variety show, barbecue, church services and other events.

A Bi-Centennial Scholarship has also been established with the recent death of 1936 graduate Ottis Logue of Fredericton, who left $55,000 to his alma mater.

Anyone with information on professional artists who are SJHS alumni, or former teachers, should call Mr. Harbinson at 658-5606.

They need not be graduates of the school, but must have attended or taught there.