Upper School News

An Inside Look at the New Nueva Art Collection
Judith Worrall, middle school writing teacher & communications team member

Q&A with Upper School Arts Rep Tomo G. ‘21 
Upper school student council arts representative Tomo G. recently launched the Nueva Art Collection, a place to share, explore, and document all of the artistic talent and creativity of the Nueva community. Judith Worrall caught up with him about the creation of this virtual art gallery.  

Judith Worrall: How would you describe your role as arts rep?
Tomo Greenberg: As the arts rep, I act as the point person for communication between students and the arts department, as well as help to organize art events and projects such as  digital gallery, Nueva Coffeehouses and the BLM Mural Project.

JW: Why did you decide to create the virtual gallery? 
TG: I was inspired by all the incredible artwork by Nueva students that I have seen over the years. While we display artwork on the walls, I couldn’t help but feel like there was still so much artwork going unseen. I thought a digital art gallery would be a great way to access the hidden talent of the Nueva community and have a place to store art indefinitely without needing any physical space.

What’s great about a digital gallery is that you can include so many different media all in one place, allowing musicians, painters, dancers, videographers, etc. to all share the same platform. Users can also search for specific artists and sort by class or medium, allowing anyone to easily find specific pieces, discover new artwork by certain students, or browse artwork made in a specific class.
A digital gallery is also versatile. .You can include photos, audio, video, or any external link, so musicians, painters, dancers, videographers and more can share the same platform.  Users can also search for specific artists and sort by class or medium, allowing anyone to easily find specific pieces, discover new artwork by certain students, or browse artwork made in a specific class.

I’m an artist myself—I like to experiment with a range of media, including fine art drawing and painting and also digital painting, animation, playing the piano, and music production, so I was very keen to be inclusive of creativity in its broadest sense. 

JW: What were some of your technical and artistic challenges and choices?
TG: One of the biggest challenges was figuring out the process for submissions. Our first draft, for example, gave students the option to instantly post their art to the site without any sort of vetting process. After meeting with the administration and communication teams, we agreed to have a submission process where posts aren’t visible online until they’re approved. To be approved, an artist simply has to follow a few basic guidelines outlined on the site to ensure that the work is school-appropriate and is some form of art. 

JW: What artwork is chosen to be part of it?  
The site is open for all  Nueva community members to submit any artwork they’ve created, whether it is from a Nueva class or not. The submission form allows users to submit photos, audio, video, or any external link, so the artwork can really take any form. In order for a submission to be approved, it simply has to follow a few basic guidelines (outlined on the site) in order to ensure that it is school appropriate and is some form of art.

JW: Who else was involved in the process of creating the gallery?   
TG: My classmate and good friend, Joseph K. ’21, helped a lot, from proposing the initial idea to helping out on the technical side. I’ve also had continuing support from upper school art faculty May Wilson and Rachel Dawson.

JW: What are you most proud of? 
TG: I would say that the entire process—from having the idea to final implementation—has been really fulfilling, especially now being able to finally see classmates using and engaging with the site.  For now, we’re trying out the gallery under the Nueva Student Council Website. My eventual goal is to move the gallery to its own independent public site so that everyone can see the amazing artwork of the Nueva Community. 

The Art Collection can be found on the StuCo website at usstuco.com/artcollection.

Artist Interview with Amrutha R. '24

JW: What did you think of the virtual gallery?
AR: I think that the art website is a cool opportunity, as anyone in Nueva can view and upload art to the website whenever they want. There isn't a deadline for uploading work, so it has this sense of continuity. Also, being able to submit many different forms of art, including music, is interesting: it allows us to display different aspects of ourselves as artists. This also highlights all the different talents at Nueva! 

I personally love playing music and singing as well as visual art, so the decision to allow all types of creative work is nice. 

JW: How did your artwork look in place here, as opposed to in the real world?
In the real world, as an artist starting out, it can be hard to showcase my artwork in the vast sea of websites out there online. This platform ensures that my work can be seen within the community. 

JW: Are there any advantages or disadvantages to the digital gallery, do you think—especially in terms of your own work? 
AR: I like the digital gallery because it is organized and easily accessible, which is especially useful in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I can upload pieces of my work, while keeping an original copy for myself, and my pieces can be viewed in different places at once. I can also create music recordings and upload them, which I plan to do in the future, without having to play that same song live every time someone wants to listen to it. 

In terms of disadvantages, I find that sculptures look different in pictures compared to real life. For example, in my sculpture of a face, sometimes the features of the face look disproportionate because of the camera, or the lack of shadow makes the shapes look different. But other than this, a virtual gallery is definitely a wonderful thing!

JW: What would you like to say to the students and teachers responsible for creating the virtual gallery?
AR: Thank you to the people who created the virtual gallery. It must have taken so much time and effort, and it has given a great opportunity for students like me to display their art.  

Read More

Ninth Graders Create Products Using Universal and Software Design Principles

What does it mean to build the courage to imagine and craft solutions to challenges? How can design thinking, systems thinking, data science, computer science, and design engineering be used to address societal issues around social justice and equity? In Design with Impact (DWI), a core course in ninth grade, students engage in projects that help them bridge the skills in these five key areas and design for others. 

History, Culture, and Colors Pop on Upper School Field Trip

It’s a rare occurrence for it to be sunnier in San Francisco than in San Mateo, but upper school students in Chelsea Denlow’s Postcolonial Latin America history class experienced sunshine and blue skies, which made the vibrant colors of the Mission District pop as they visited the neighborhood last week.

Waltzing into the Victorian Era

On the final day of the fall semester you could hear the sounds of a waltz, smell freshly-baked crumpets, and see a top hat—or three!—in room 1109 of the San Mateo campus. 

Catching Up with . . . Betsy Madden

Betsy Madden, upper school physics teacher, is in her second year at Nueva. In this conversation we learn about Betsy’s time working for the Red Cross and how teaching has provided a place for her interests and experiences to be put into practice. 

Catching Up with . . . Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick, in his second year at Nueva, teaches upper school English and is the ninth-grade co-dean. In this conversation, we hear about Jonathan’s unique path to Nueva, the importance of reading with his family, and his love of National Parks.

Girls’ Volleyball Team Retakes the Court and Enjoys Successful Season

The last time the Nueva girls’ volleyball stepped on the court, they were competing in the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation Division V NorCal finals. The season culminated in a CCS quarterfinals playoff match against Castilleja on Nov. 2, after they earned an eighth-seed berth and defeated ninth-seeded Santa Catalina in their opening playoff match.

Catching Up with . . . Wes Chao

Wes Chao joined the upper school I-Lab team in 2019. We sat down with Wes to discuss his path to teaching, the role his outside interests play in his professional life, and to hear more about some projects our upper school students are currently working on in computer science.