Pali High Student Art Showcase Shines Spotlight On Local Teen Talent

Artists, dancers and musicians showcased their talents at the annual Palisades Charter High School Visual and Performing Arts Showcase on Thursday evening, March 14.

The show featured ceramics, paintings, drawings, photography, film and performances by the talented Pali High dance team, jazz band, choir, orchestra, marching band and color guard.

Parents, siblings, family, friends, staff and community members enjoyed dinner catered by local food truck Moises, followed by a performance of classical music on the school’s quad to start the evening and titillate artistic appetites.

As the sun set and the hum of the strings faded in the quad, students were already receiving calls of “Encore!” from proud parents, smiles beaming in the crowd.

“We had a great turnout—it was a beautiful night,” Art Department Co-Chair Rick Steil told the Palisadian-Post. “So many of my friends that don’t have kids here anymore still come back to it. Where else do you go to see dancers, a jazz band, art shows and singers all in one night?”

The Pali High showcase, part static exhibit and part live performance, allows students to showcase their art not just for their family and friends, but for professional musicians, artists, actors and dancers who live in town, along with art school representatives who routinely come to see promising performers.

“It’s a great event because it exemplifies all the talent here at Pali High—reps from theater schools like to come and kick the tires, parents are able to see their kids perform, it’s a great thing,” Steil said.

Visual artists display 2D and 3D works in the school’s Mercer Hall, preparing, printing and mounting them months in advance of the showcase.

“By the end of that process, we’ve collected a treasure trove of student artworks.”

Pali High is unique not just for its geographic location in one of the most creatively endowed cities on the planet, but for its inclusion of students from all over Los Angeles who come to Pali High to receive a quality education.

“We have over 350 pieces on
display representing over 100 zip codes,” Steil said. “I think that’s what makes Pali High so cool—we’ve got kids coming from Palmdale, from Lancaster.

“We don’t have the same issue with cliques that other schools do. I think people see the diversity that’s here and what it adds. It becomes a melting pot; kids from all different walks of life with different artistic styles. I think it’s great to see all these talented students just coming together, to see these barriers breaking down. We just have a great community.”

“Plus we’re by the ocean,” Steil joked. “I think the ocean mellows people out.”

As parents perused the visual arts in Mercer Hall, the dance team took the stage, exhibiting a dexterity and passion also evident in their musical and vocal counterparts in the school’s jazz band and choir, who performed shortly thereafter.

“I was so lucky to perform a dance with all the seniors to commemorate our four years at our school,” senior dancer Sloan Benezra told the Post. “Pali High taught me how to pursue my career and mature as an artist. I’ll hopefully be pursuing some type of dance curriculum in college. I want to thank my amazing teachers and my teammates.”

“I am so grateful for the wonderful arts department at Pali,” added senior and actor Gabi Fong. “Mr. Wong, Cheri and Monique Smith, and Nancy Fracchiolla have taught me so much about acting, singing and dancing, and I am so excited to go into the professional world with the knowledge that they’ve given me.”

“The part that I love the most about the arts at Pali is the opportunity to sing with all the amazingly talented people in the program. I got to attend performances outside of school and frequently thought, ‘Pali could have done it better,’” said junior choir member Zachary Lin. “The Pali choir is a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

The color band and marching guard put on a visually arresting show in the school’s gym, replete with pomp, panache and zeal.

The showcase was saturated with burgeoning young talents—some of whom may be the stars of tomorrow.

Steil, himself a professional photographer, pushes his students to be their best, to always search for the “next level.”

“I want to challenge them,” Steil said. “That’s how you become better. I want to ask why they think what they think; I want to hear what they have to say—and they have a lot to say. Year after year, it’s amazing to see how talented and passionate these kids are.”