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cARTie's 2023 Submitting Student-Artists

Spring 2023, cARTie invited submissions from a diverse representation of middle and high school art students from across the state of Connecticut to thoughtfully interpret the theme of art as universal language and complement works of art exchanged by secondary students at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford and the Machakos School for the Deaf in Kenya. Students could interpret the theme of art as universal language in myriad ways including — but not limited to — a narrative sequence or story, portraiture, symbols and abstraction, a landscape. They could use a variety of media. As part of the application process, student-artists shared artist statements and comments regarding their motivation to submit. Student-artists were not only looking to have their art shared, but also to inspire young children with limited access to the arts in education across our state.


Works of art by middle and high school student-artists across Connecticut that were inspired by the exchange facilitated by cARTie's partner nonprofit, Creative Connections, are featured here. As a collective, these works of art are testaments to the power of art as language. Alongside pieces from the exchange (see students' interpretations and stories of extraordinary experiences in their own lives here and here), these works of art remind us to appreciate and learn more about deafness, (dis)abilities, and the power of the arts to communicate and connect across cultures.


A juried selection of the works of art featured here will also be on view aboard cARTie's art museum bus for the 2023-2024 school year. The exhibition, ‘The Power of Art as Language’ is stimulating thinking, dialogue, and action around disability awareness and activism by specifically engaging our youngest learners in important explorations and conversations around contemporary concerns such as developing deep empathy and activism for the deaf and (dis)abled community, and celebrating the ingenuity of students with (dis)abilities and advance the creativity of all children. It is supported by CT Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts

View the full exhibition here:

Different Worlds, Same Possibilities (2023; acrylic, gel pen, sharpie)

"This art represents the different lives and backgrounds people have. The 2 figures represent the same person, but with different life experiences. Their backgrounds may be different but they can still be alike. They could still connect with each other some day, even if where they come from or how they speak is different." ~Camille Bartus

Yin & Yang- Hand of Order & Crow of Chaos- Harmony (2022; acrylic)

"The abstractness of a dream state pushes and pulls our inner selves in a way that dreams influence the development of our real-life experiences and identities, and they end up becoming our realities." ~Ian Chow

Hand in Hand (2022; acrylic)

"This picture is of two children I saw at a farm in Israel. They made me think about how different my life is from theirs. Even though we speak different languages, I can portray them in a way that everyone can understand." ~Shayna Wilson-Spiro

Dog (2023; graphite)

"In my mind the prompt "art as a universal language" can mean many things. In this piece I drew something that everyone can recognize. A dog! Underneath the drawing is the spelling, hand signs, and braille used to signify that the drawing is a dog. Anyone from anywhere, no matter the language you speak, can at least identify what the drawing is. It is made with a regular school pencil to show that art can be made with just paper and pencil." ~Claire Osiecki

A Smile in the Ground (2023; graphite, watercolor)

"The smiley face is a symbol that is understood across the globe. Being such a universal symbol, It was probably the first thing most of us learned to draw. I wanted to portray something as simple as a smiley face in a way that emphasizes its importance. My piece shows two children playing in the dirt with nothing but a stick. At first glance that is all that happening. But when you take a closer look, you can see that what's being drawn in the ground is a smiley face." ~Hannah Gourad

The Town of Ansonia (2023; watercolor)

"This piece of art represents what I see in Ansonia as someone who lives there these are the little pieces I notice of my town like the hanging shoes or the beautiful sunset." ~Alishba Baig

The Lion (2023; scrtachboard)

"I am a creative young artist who likes to explore the tones and features of my work." ~Jack Lippoth

Ethereal (2023; acrylic)

"This painting is what people would call 'a beautiful accident'. The heavenly look to it is what gives it the title 'Ethereal', especially if you listen to Ethereal music as you're looking at it, it all just fits." ~Casey Lerner

Ophelia (2023; photography)

"For this piece, I really wanted to create my own version and spin off of the story Ophelia, where she ultimately drowns after going mad from extreme grief. Although for my version I wanted to use this piece to tell a story along with the rest of my pieces, and using this piece as the first chapter." ~Ava Keogh

Digital Connection (2023; graphite, charging cables, digital)

"'Language' means communication, and art is a form of communication for artists to convey their ideas, thoughts, and opinions. We now live in a digital age where people can express their thoughts and feelings quicker and easier, making communication the forefront of people's lives. This also makes it easier for artists to share their ideas with an audience, and allows for them to find an audience. Two people can learn so much about each other through their work alone." ~Emily Lu

Gold in Grey (2023; oil paint, gold leaf)

"I participated in the youth art program at the Norwalk Art's Space in the fall of 2022 and was a part of the Artivision cohort where I created, 'Gold in Grey,' an installation on a 24*18 yard sign which captured my vision of always seeing the gold in someone, even if they seem grey. Artivision was an idea to capture art in activism." ~Anjulia Wennerstrom

cARTie's 2022 Submitting High School Artists

Spring 2022, cARTie put out a call for submissions to a diverse representation of high school art students from across the state of Connecticut. The call asked students to respond to the prompt: what comes next? Students were encouraged to think creatively and feel unrestricted by medium. More than 26 original works of art were submitted by 18 student artists. cARTie gives voice to all 18 student artists by featuring their art here.


As part of the application process, student artists shared artist bios, commented on their motivation to submit work(s) of art, and reflected on what they wanted PreK-2 students to see, feel, notice, and think about when engaging with their work. Almost universally, student artists affirmed their motivation to submit works of art for the purpose of impacting young children.


A juried selection of submitted art is displayed in cARTie's mobile museum bus this 2022-2023 school year!

Telepathy (2022; digital)

"After years of observation of the world, I found that the reason why people have the courage and ability to communicate and love others across nationalities and races is because we are connected in hearts, and we understand and accept differences." ~Beini Zhong

21 days (2021; digital)

"During the long years in the forest, I recorded about the pure land of my heart that had been covered with snow in 21 days." ~Beini Zhong

Ubuntu (2021; spray paint)

"I recently did this piece in my room it spells out Ubuntu which is an African word meaning Community." ~Dereje Tarrant

Outside the Window (2022; acrylic paint)

"'Outside the Window' depicts what unimaginable things can be outside a home. The jellyfish represents the impossible and possible that await for the world to leap into; it could be the best thing it the world, or the most heartbreaking; the motto is to take risks and find new opportunities to further life’s purpose which Mio is currently still discovering." ~Mio Nomoto

Shades of Life (2021; acrylic paint, colored pencil)

"In this piece, I studied how light and color interact. It particularly represents the beauty of black skin and the life our body holds. The vibrant colors and array of fruits symbolize an appreciation for our existence. With the abundance of racial bias the black community faces today, I wanted to exemplify the beauty and strength they hold." ~Arianna Martinez

Spring (2022; acrylic paint, colored pencil)

""Spring" is to show support for Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As there are various complex foreign affairs that are oftentimes out of our control, all we can do, as Americans, is demonstrate support in numbers. Whether this love is through art, music, protest, etc. I hope to depict the true beauty and culture of Ukraine during spring in this piece." ~Arianna Martinez

Blub blub and Fish (2022; digital)

"I created this character while on a plane and flying over the clouds. He is an alien and fish are his favorite animal." ~Kyle Blumenfeld

Kappa Poo (2022; digital)

"Kappas are a popular part of Japanese folklore. I enjoy drawing them. This piece is filled with vibrant colors and references to the stories about kappas." ~Kyle Blumenfeld

The Dreamer's Words (2022; gouache)

"I had a dream a few months ago, in which a past friend of mine from middle school offered me something that I wanted, but I didn’t take it. He then turned to me, in the dream, and said, "If you want it, go get it." That sentence has been going through my head for a while now because it fits into a lot of current situations in my life. So, I decided to paint it." ~Ava Basile

The Lovers (2022; pencil, sharpie)

"For an art class I’m taking in school, one of our prompts was to draw a dream we had. This is a scene between two of my own original characters, in which they both go to hang out at an abandoned gazebo in the woods." ~Ava Basile

Stuck in a Loop (2022; collage, painting)

"This piece is about our phones and how they are around us everywhere. Wherever we are looking nowadays there is some form of media or technology around us. The phones circling around the girl, keeps the girl from escaping all the media she is consuming, in a way she is stuck in a loop. Both by choice and not by choice." ~Maia Coto

Speaking Up (2022; acrylic paint)

"This piece is about women speaking out against their rights to themselves and their body to men. The stubborn man in black and white who doesn’t want to hear our words shows purpose as some of the men of today. The women shouting and speaking out is what the women of today are doing. The piece is supposed to show though you are not going to listen we will not stop speaking up for our rights until you decide to listen and care for the rights of women’s decisions." ~Maia Coto

Trapped (2022; colored pencil)

"Art is many things, and for myself as the artist, it’s a way for me to let go of all my thoughts and emotions. My art is reflection of my mental state, and when I creating this work of art, I was stressed and overwhelmed by all that I needed to get done for school. The thing is, I know I’m not the only one. That is the purpose of the octopus. It’s a placeholder–a shoe that fits any person." ~Jessica Fang

Look Up (2022; digital)

"When I made this piece I was thinking about how everybody walks around staring at their phones like Zombies. The internet has become something that everyone is addicted to. You won’t see what’s next for you until you look away." ~Claire Osiecki

Ace of Spades (2022; photography)

"Growing up I was always into magic. Magic tricks gave me comfort. Whether I was presenting one or being presented to. It was always an amazing time when a deck of cards was nearby. This inspired me to create a medium where I am part of my childhood again." ~Jordan Huff

Through the Glass (2022; photography)

"I will change the world by changing my perspective. This photo shows the different perspectives that can be viewed through different lenses. By looking through the glass you are able to see a different side of the model’s character. It shows how there can be multiple sides to a person. You should change your perspective when thinking about others. Maybe they aren’t as well off or maybe they are going through something." ~Jordan Huff

Choosing a Path (2022; watercolor, ink)

"The art piece that I’m presenting has two paths that might happen in the future, one side, it shows people standing by and letting things pass like the environment endangerment and other disputes. The second path shows how sharing your voice can make an impact, resulting in a level path." ~Jessica Sequeira

The Last Straw (2022; digital)

"With global warming, and all of these controversies going on, it might get too violent to where our ideal future with robots won’t be even close to being accomplished." ~Khai McIntosh

Marble (2022; acrylic paint)

~Casey Lerner

Life in a Bubble (2022; oil paint, colored pencil, marker)

"Due to pollution and global warming, I think in the future it is possible that humans will have to live in enclosed cities in order to persevere clean air. In order to go outside you must wear a mask, which the girl is seen wearing. I also thought it would be interesting to give her robot legs because I also believe robotic technology will be very popular in the future." ~Phoebe DeOreo

RIP Three (2022; pencil)

"I drew this and remembered my cousin Sheiley. She tragically swam to shore after a boating accident. She was climbing rocks to safety and was knocked off by waves and was never found. An empty coffin was buried next to her parents. One more hole is dug. One empty coffin is lowered. One more cross is set. The grass grows. The light of Jesus shines down." ~Isaalys Melendez

Naruto & Sasuke (2022; colored pencil)

"I followed these two characters in the TV series Naruto. I felt empathy for them because they both grew up without parents. I always wondered what would happen next. When they got older, Sasuke became a criminal and the two became enemies." ~Isaalys Melendez

Across the Sea (2022; acrylic paint)

"I am Danalis Padua. I was born in the Bronx. I am fourteen years old. I was inspired by another painting made by my friend." ~Danalis Padua

Across the Thundering Sea (2022; acrylic paint)

"I am Kayllie Dapp. I was born in Dubry, CT. I am 14 years old, and I am an amazing artist, I'm a nail tech check out my Instagram @kay.kaynails. I got inspired to paint this boat in the thunder because it reminded me about the titanic when the boat hit the iceberg and the waves were going everywhere so I just added thunder and made my painting dark." ~Kayllie Dapp

The Strange Sea (2022; acrylic paint)

"I am Dasean Williams. I am fifteen years old. I was born in Bridgeport, CT. I am an artist. I made this piece of art inspired by nothing really." ~Dasean Williams

cARTie's 2021 Submitting High School Artists

Spring 2021, cARTie put out a call for submissions to a diverse representation of high school art students from across the state of Connecticut. The call asked students to respond to the prompt: what does it mean to be a kid during the pandemic? Students were encouraged to think creatively and feel unrestricted by medium. More than 35 original works of art were submitted by 17 student artists. cARTie gives voice to all 17 student artists by featuring their art here.


As part of the application process, student artists shared artist bios, commented on their motivation to submit work(s) of art, and reflected on what they wanted PreK-2 students to see, feel, notice, and think about when engaging with their work. Almost universally, student artists affirmed their motivation to submit works of art for the purpose of impacting young children.


A juried selection of submitted art was displayed in cARTie's mobile museum bus during the 2021-2022 school year!

Keep Laughing! I Like Being Alone, Promise! (2021; gouache paint, sharpie)

“Admittedly, not much is going on in my piece. I painted this because I like the composition, and I like the sentiment behind it. I don’t think there’s a deeper meaning behind it besides form what I feel, and that’s alright. What I enjoy about art is doing whatever I want, drawing my own characters and compositions I think are neat. Above all else, I wish for young artists to know that, that it’s alright to just draw whatever they think is cool." ~ Camila Saa

LOVE NOTE (2021; acrylic paint)

"Art is a snapshot of the imagination. Art is a way to give your thoughts permanence and a physical form that can be enjoyed by all. I make things that don’t and probably couldn’t exist, but are still beautiful. You can make something bigger than yourself and larger than life, and it never dies." ~ Dillon Oliviero

Mask Up (2021; acrylic paint)

"The project that I submitted is a skeleton, however I painted it with bright colors to make it seem brighter and happier. The skeleton is wearing a mask to show that everyone is effected by the pandemic, even those who we do not expect.” ~ Sophie Fridland

The six rooms of the pandemic (2021; colored pencils, sharpie)

"As a not-well-known artist I decided to participate in this championship to pass my vision of how a child in the pandemic is and to have a recognition because I love art! I hope they identify with what I tried to go through with the theme.” ~ Mateus Ferraz

The Distraction of Distance (2021; acrylic paint)

“I hope kids will look at my art and feel understood. I also hope that seeing my painting will help kids who struggled with learning online feel like they weren’t alone." ~ Phoebe DeOreo

Captured Beauty (2020; photography)

“Art is a process, learning to get better at it or developing your artistic talents takes a lot of time. I myself often don’t think my art is very good, but thats a part of learning, you will always be able to see the imperfections of your own art, but you can’t be hung up on those mistakes. You will always be your own harshest critic, so learning to accept the encouraging words of others is the most important part of the artistic journey." ~ Duncan Martin

Working Boots (2021; pen, ink)

“I hope that kids in elementary school will see that it’s ok to be different and to struggle but with hard work and dedication you can accomplish anything. I want them to see that the world differently and know that it is still beautiful. Even if this year has been dark, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we need to stay positive.” ~ Mark Despard III

Henry (2021; acrylic paint)

"Covid has stunted learning in not only me, but kids across the world. I hope this piece gets that message across." ~ Emily McNeice

Kindness is a Choice (2021; acrylic paint)

"I made a painting of a skull because we should help everyone to get on their feet." ~ Marquest Mattison

Away (2021; acrylic paint)

"I painted a boat to express what it means to be a kid during the pandemic because I thought how lonely it was not to hang-out with friends. So, I painted a boat to show how lonely it can get. I thought how a boat is away from everyone in the sea, and it was a terrible time for us. That’s why I tried to give it a dark vibe to show how sad it could be not seeing or interacting with friends and family and staying put in the house." ~ Jesus Rojas-Osorio

Shouting Stars (2021; acrylic paint)

"I painted a house with shouting stars because during pandemic I feel trapped in the house and the shouting stars are the virus." ~ Jason Fernandez

Inspiration (2021; acrylic paint)

"I painted this boat because I wanted to inspire my friends. I hope my painting can help other people so that they stop seeing life as black and white, but learn to see life in colors." ~ Genesis Nivar-Guerrero

Evening (2021; acrylic paint)

"My sister’s artwork inspired me to paint." ~ Edgar Zhagui

Enough (2020; Pen, Ink, Collage)

"I created this self portrait with the intent of using line to depict the emotion of stress. Senior year of high school, especially during the pandemic, has been a rigorous experience having to balance developing my college portfolio and high school academics..." ~ Nate Kolek

Esperanza (Hope) (2021; acrylic paint)

"A boat is an expression of my hope for future travel after pandemic." ~ Alex Aguilar

I'm Not Free (2021; digital)

“Art, as a tool, is a great way to express oneself, but it’s also a great way to relax. Art has been really helpful to me throughout this interesting year, and I hope that these kids will feel the same." ~ Ava Basile

cARTie's 2020 Virtual Exhibition

Spring 2020, cARTie put out a call for submissions to high school art students from across the state of Connecticut. More than 18 original works of art were submitted, and the following seven, from Berlin, Bridgeport, New Fairfield, Norwalk, Thomaston, Ridgefield, and Wamogo were selected by cARTie's Board of Directors to be featured in the organization's first ever virtual exhibition. As part of the application process, student-artists reflected on their own early museum memories and shared the impact they hope their works of art are able to have. Reaching PreK-2 audiences not only motivated these student-artists, but inspired their artistic pursuits.


Together, these pieces are a testament to the value of picking up a pencil, a piece of paper, a stash of paints, a roll of film, a ball of clay, and so forth. With time, attention, and self-motivation, you too can be a spotlighted student-artist!


Click here for family-friendly virtual gallery activity prompts!


Sharpie on Paper, 2020 Brianna “A single dot doesn’t make much, but together they have the strength to make something beautiful.”


Photography, 2020 Summer “Taking a picture is like taking a moment in time and keeping it forever.”

Quarantine Mind

Oil Paint, 2020 Alaana


Spray Paint, 2020 Alejandro “This is actually my senior art piece; my mark left at my high school. I have been playing the violin for 8 years and viola for the 3 years so it made sense to make that the theme. I decided to do spray paint after I realized that the corona virus would cause me to have very little time to finish. It took me a total of three days to finish and the title of my piece corresponds to my senior quote,”Positive Energy Activates Constant Elevation.”


Acrylic on Canvas, 2020 Rachel “This is a painting I completed in my art class for a friend. In the lower corner is a lizard outline that my friend had drawn for reference. I decided for a personal touch to add that drawing onto the canvas.”

My Geranium Still Life

Watercolour, 2020 Kevin “It turns out I am continuing my art career. I decided to do Painting 1 before Drawing 2. My first project in painting was the Geranium Still life. I sketched out the flower and started to paint it. I began with the pedals which were honestly the easiest part of the project while the hardest part was the leaves."


Colored Pencil, 2019 Erin “I created this my sophomore year of high school. It was sent to the city hall art show by my teacher.”

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