Maspeth High School students’ work to be featured in Queens Borough Arts Festival

Artwork by Maspeth High School student Diana Ivovic, titled “Gerontocrocy Doesn’t Work.” (Photo courtesy of Maspeth High School)

Two Maspeth High School seniors were selected to showcase their work at the Queens Borough Arts Festival, a Department of Education event held to celebrate student work. 

Diana Ivovic and Kathleen Dappah will have their work shown on the Queens Borough Arts Festival website for the virtual reveal Monday, June 7. 

Kathleen Dappah’s piece, ‘The Woman Through The Window.” (Photo courtesy of Maspeth High School)

Stephanie Lara, the art teacher for the two students, said she could not be more proud. 

“I have worked with my seniors for four years and have been very emotional about them leaving, especially because the last year and a half with them was virtual,” Lara said. “It’s incredible how much their skills have developed. I couldn’t be more proud to end their high school career with an awesome acceptance to this festival.”

Ivovic submitted a piece called “Gerontocracy Doesn’t Work,” a portrait in gouache, a painting method. This piece shows Ivovic with duct tape over her mouth, with other mouths around mocking her. 

Diana Ivovic with her piece, titled “Gerontocrocy Doesn’t Work.” (Photo courtesy of Maspeth High School)

Ivovic said seeing what’s been going on in the news inspired her to make this artwork, the capitol riots in January setting her off.

“It’s hard to put your thoughts into words,” Ivovic said. “The idea is that the government is run by old people, and it suppresses the voices of the youth, and because we don’t have a voice, all these policies are made in the view of people who are kind of outdated.”

Lara said she was impressed by her students’ creativity and skill and told her students always to use art as an outlet. 

“The subject matter was unique, both had human figures but weren’t just typical self-portraits,” Lara said. “They were both playful but showed a lot of skill and imagination. I hope this means they are encouraged to keep doing art no matter what they pursue. I hope that they’re proud of themselves and use this as motivation to continue.”

Ivovic will be attending Hunter College in the fall for secondary education. Ivovic said she will always continue making art, but only for herself. 

“Art is one of my biggest passions,” Ivovic said. “I feel the need to separate my works and hobbies because I feel like I might get the life sucked out of me if I had to do it for any other reason than my own.”

The annual festival takes place at the end of each school year to honor students in visual arts, theater, dance, media arts and music. Each borough has its own festival, working with art directors and community superintendents to select work across the city.