Annual Montgomery County art show celebrates STEAM curricula

Raheel Raad, a 17-year-old senior at Watkins Mill High School in Montgomery County, took top honors recently at the 2016 Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus art show with her piece, "Revealing," an artistic interpretation of human trafficking inspired by her assigned theme, "Secrets."

Painting of woman wrapped in yellow caution tape

Image caption: Raheel Raad's "Revealing"

"I thought of humans problems that represent a secret," Raad said. "I came up with the idea of human trafficking. They aren't able to live a normal life. They don't have a voice because they are so secluded. ... They can't share their secrets."

The art exhibit, celebrating its 10th year, is among the programs at Johns Hopkins University's Montgomery County Campus designed to get students in middle school and high school excited about STEAM education. The added A in STEAM represents the addition of arts into a core curriculum of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The art show promotes visual literacy as well as critical and creative thinking. Preparing for the show also supports students' social-emotional learning, said Linda Adams, fine arts supervisor for Montgomery County Public Schools.

"In the arts, students need to be critical and creative thinkers," Adams said. "They need to see multiple points of view, analyze information, and make reasoned judgments to solve problems. They need to see multiple ways to solve open-ended problems through flexibility, elaboration, and originality of thought. The arts engage students in developing their curiosity and encourage our students to generate original and innovative solutions from complex and real-world problems."

Of the 188 mixed-media art pieces submitted by students from 17 of the county's public high schools, jurors selected 48 canvases to be showcased in the exhibit. Five students were awarded prizes for their original works. The second-place winner was Max Maynard of the Visual Arts Center at Albert Einstein High School. Jirawat Khumbungkla of Northwood High School and Isabel Yoon of Quince Orchard High School shared third place. View more photos from the event

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the third place finishers.