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'Powerful on so many levels': 'Water is Everywhere' exhibition opens at David Brower Center

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Many of the students are from local high schools, including Berkeley High.


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MARCH 13, 2023

Young artists and their teachers from high schools in the Bay Area and Nebraska gathered for an opening reception to their multimedia exhibition “Water is Everywhere” on Friday.

The exhibition, on view March 10 to June 10, is located in the David Brower Center located in Downtown Berkeley. The center is named after David Brower, the founder of the modern environmental movement, who saw the potential of youth, according to the center’s executive director Maria Schell Hassid.

“We focus on environmental art,” said Cristina Cabrera, an administrative coordinator at the David Brower Center. “The theme of our exhibition cycle is to merge art with inspired and informed action to work on environmental causes.”

According to Cabrera, 238 students participated in this exhibition, the largest number since the founding of the “Art/Act: Youth” exhibition in 2017. About 180 of them are from local high schools, including Berkeley High School, Richmond High School and Skyline High School, while the rest are from North Platte High School in Nebraska, she added.

Even though the Bay Area has an urban setting and North Platte is an agricultural prairie, they share similar water issues, said Laurie Rich, the Brower Center’s senior executive advisor.

“The teachers work together to create a shared curriculum,” Rich said. “The teachers visited each other’s respective cities to learn more about the water issues.”

Bailey Mason, an art teacher at North Platte High School, claimed that the exhibition displays six months of hard work for the students and culminates a year-long process for the teachers.

Mason said her students used paper yarn, glue, watercolor and acrylic paint, embroidery, jewelry, ceramics and photography to create water-themed art.

Keith Lloyd, a forensics and earth and space science teacher at North Platte High School, leads his art projects with scientific creativity, using 3D printing, wood and polystyrene installations.

“My original plan was to make a diorama that had actual sand and dirt and plants in like a living ecosystem, kind of like we said on the wall, but obviously, trip out to California, it’d be hard to keep everything in place,” Lloyd said.

From participating students’ perspectives, the exhibition serves as a platform for community building. At the reception, parents joined the students to view their artworks. Moreover, students appreciated their friends’ art pieces.

Olive Kinomoto, a 10th grader at Skyline High School, enjoyed both her own chemistry class’s approach, which resulted in a designed brochure, and seeing her friends’ visual art approaches at the exhibition.

Kinomoto added that this kind of project, which deals with important scientific topics, was “more engaging” than an essay or lab.

Rich believes that compared to established artists, young artists are more powerful and inspirational to the general public. She added that “Water is Everywhere” spreads environmental awareness and calls for action.

“I think this show is powerful on so many levels … because you are elevating the student voice, elevating young changemakers,” Rich said, “and then the ripple effect of the community seeing it. And it’s not just tonight’s opening; this is up for months and people come in.”

Contact Jingxing Wang at 


MARCH 13, 2023