Richmond Art Center Richmond Art Center

The Beautiful Chaos of Art

The Beautiful Chaos of Art

By Emaline Lubinger-Chavez (Pinole Valley High School)

The ability to create and share art has always been a huge part of community. From artists working together to create murals, to a shadowy figure in the night clinging to an overpass to get the graffiti just right. Fences made from street signs, a scribble on a bathroom mirror, a camera set to capture all these things that burn gold against the gray monotony. Some work is seen as vandalism, however, no place would be the same without the clashing colors splashed across bridges, walls, and boulevards.

Recently, the Richmond Art Center opened its doors to the beautiful chaos of art waiting just outside. Young artists from middle and high schools across western Contra Costa County took advantage of the space awaiting them and filled every inch of the Community and West Galleries. Paintings, photographs, sculptures and more almost overwhelm the eyes. Over 400 pieces cover the walls from floor to ceiling; each one a window into an artist’s life.

These sorts of spaces are incredibly important to young people today. As a certified young person, I can say that many of us struggle with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and general confusion. It’s like reading the back of a pill bottle. But art is a salve on the leaking wound of the soul. It calms and cools the raging fire within us and gives us space to think and reflect on life.  The annual WCCUSD Student Art Show pushes kids to create art, which in turn pushes them to better understand themselves and the world around them.

I myself actually have a piece in the installation. A relatively small black and white photo, with words carved ruggedly into its surface, it stands out from the colorful almost piñata like masks above it. Across the way, the masks lock eyes with eerie portraits both painted and photographed. The contrast serves to show just how different everyone’s story is. And just how important it is that everyone’s story has a chance to be told.

We are all different. That is a simple fact of life. Art is how we express our differences. This installation provides a healthy and positive environment for young people to express themselves and be accepted as artists. For this, I am thankful.

Top image: Elianna Moran, Over the Rainbow, 2019 (Pinole Valley High School, Grade 9). On view in 54th Annual WCCUSD Student Art Show, March 26 – April 24, 2019.


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Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804-1600


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Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 10am-4pm