Where Creativity Meets Critical Thinking

June 3, 2024

In a converted storage space in Purcell Marian’s basement lies a nondescript door.

What was once the book depository is now a makeshift art gallery where students at Purcell Marian bring their critical creativity to life. Though the space is makeshift, the work displayed, with its depth and high quality, is anything but.


One spring morning, a dozen IB Art Students presented their final projects for peer review. The exhibited works were part of a feedback session, where students received constructive feedback and evaluation from peers, teachers, and outside community members, including PM alum and former IB Visual Art student Zero Pruitt ‘22 and Cincinnati artist and Professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati Keith Benjamin.

During this session, students talked about the influences of art on their own creations—one student drawing inspiration from Yinka Shonibare and the Maasai, while another made connections between their own work and that of artists such as Claude Monet and Alma Thomas.


As each student presented their pieces, discussions on various topics emerged: the role of technology in humanity, femininity and domesticity, space and time, and innocence and childhood. The room was filled with teenagers respectfully asking questions about technique, expression, thematic coherence, and the effectiveness of their peers in conveying ideas or emotions in their art pieces


“These students are making, thinking about, and discussing artworks on a level well above high school,” said IB Art Teacher Mr. Joey Versoza. “It has been a gift witnessing the growth of such thoughtful, rigorous, and poetic young artists as they continue through this program here at PM. The beautiful combination of the IB curriculum, the family spirit of Purcell Marian education, and the dynamic student body has made the art curriculum a special one. When a critique is over and I close those gallery doors after hearing the passion and brilliance of these students, I believe with all my heart that we are succeeding in helping students learn to listen to one another and accept that one point of view isn’t the only point of view.”

Through their creativity and original art at Purcell Marian, students are preparing for real-life critical thinking, the ability to convey their opinions, ask questions, and engage in meaningful dialogue with others.


Recent Art Accolades

Cavalier artists swept the High School division at the Hyde Park Square Art Show in October 2023 with a trio of juniors, Daniel Mantero-Robles (First Place), Idris Mawo (Second Place), and Clara Johnson Grove (Third Place), bringing awards back to Hackberry.

Daniel Mantero-Robles - Strings of ChaosIdris Mawo - Land SubmarineClara Johnson Grove - St. Francis De Sales

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