Three Dartmouth students reflected in Emerging Young Artists and Designers exhibition

Jan 31, 2024

Out of the 808 New England students that submitted pieces of art to be considered for the 2024 Emerging Young Artists and Designers exhibition only 199 students were accepted — and Dartmouth High School students nabbed three of those spots. 

“One quarter of the work submitted got in — that’s it,” said lead art teacher Christine McFee. “That’s pretty competitive … it’s good to have that competitive exposure.”

McFee said it’s exciting for students to have their work displayed, but she does wish it was still a live show on UMass Dartmouth’s campus. 

The Emerging Young Artists and Designers exhibition is run annually by the UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts. The pieces selected were put on display in a virtual exhibition, which can be viewed at

The show is juried, meaning works are accepted and rejected by the exhibition’s judges. In this case, CVPA Associate Dean Ann Kim presided over the show. 

The three Dartmouth students selected each showcased a different medium taught at the school, from painting to ceramics to darkroom photography. 

Senior Fiona Jason submitted a piece that she created outside of class called “Star Man“, which she said is simply about “unfulfilling relationships.” The sculptural work depicts a bright yellow figure with a star-shaped head holding a deep-blue human heart out in front of them. The “Star Man” carries a tear on his cheek as well. 

Along with Jason, Junior Jenna Rock is in McFee’s AP Art class, where students spend the year creating a portfolio of work to submit as their “exam.” Rock’s work “Cute as a Button'' shows a woman handing out a tray of cookies with a horrific smile on her face and buttons sewed over her eyes. In her artist statement, Rock said the work is part of an “investigational series” where she explores “what it means to be a monster.”

“I wanted this piece to reflect the unnatural expectations for women, mostly focusing on housewives and how they are expected to be perfect and that their efforts to reach such a pinnacle turns them into a crazy monster in the eyes of the viewer,” Rock said in the statement. 

Jack Novo, a senior photography student, submitted his black-and-white photo “Flow,” which shows a powerful waterfall splashing into a large basin filled with rocks and broken trees. In his statement, Novo said he wanted to “capture a photo freezing the motion of the waterfall,” so he went to Paskamansett River near Davoll’s General Store and did exactly that. 

While Dartmouth did not win any awards at the exhibition proper, the People’s Choice Awards is yet to be decided. The online poll, which ends Feb. 5, asks readers to vote on their favorite artworks by liking the photo. 

The Dartmouth art department’s next show will take place in the Dartmouth Cultural Center in March, when the AP students will present their work. 

The department is also in the process of setting up an in-school gallery in the room next to the library media center. McFee said it’s not clear how the space will look or function just yet, but they may add themed exhibitions throughout the year.