Friday, December 8, 2023

Gallery Selects CoSA Student’s Artwork; Olivia McKissick’s Painting Showcased at Nepenthe Gallery in Virginia

Olivia McKissick, a sophomore with the Visual Arts conservatory at CoSA (Coronado School of the Arts), was invited to showcase her painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring Color Study” at the Nepenthe Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia. The exhibit, which opened on August 11th, features 15 pieces of art selected from high school students including McKissick, whose family owns a home in the area.

The piece, created with acrylic and graphite pencil on canvas, is an Andy Warhol-style adaption of the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer. McKissick says it was rewarding to participate in the exhibit with other up-and-coming artists as part of the student anthology.

CoSA sophomore Olivia McKissick stands with her work, “Girl with a Pearl Earring Color Study” at the Nepenthe Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia.

“The experience was really valuable to me as an artist because I was able to better understand the artist/gallery relationship and also to learn from the other high school and college artists,” says McKissick. “I’ve always found ‘the Girl with the Pearl Earring’ interesting, and it was one of the first paintings I ever tried to recreate. I’ve done a couple different adaptations over the years, adding different twists to it, and this assignment was to take a recognizable work and recreate in a different style. So, I chose Warhol’s style.”

McKissick works alongside about 17 other students in the CoSA Visual Arts conservatory who study the fundamentals of art from art history to perceptual skills and visual literacy. As part of the program, each student creates and develops their own extensive portfolio over the four-year course of study within an inspiring artistic community.

McKissick was invited to take part in the new exhibit along with other up-and-coming artists as part of a student anthology.

According to Shane Schmeichel, Director of Special Programs with Coronado Unified School District, the CoSA Visual Arts program prepares students through the use of a variety of mediums and invites artists to completely engage in the creative process.

“Ultimately, the CoSA Visual Arts Studio prepares students to exhibit work in professional exhibits,” said Schmeichel. “Instruction is personalized for each student so they can learn about their strengths that can help propel them into a successful career as an artist, as well as a leader in any field.”

Members of the community are invited to connect with CoSA via the CoSA Foundation Facebook page at @coronadoschoolofthearts and Instagram @cosasdofficial.

About CoSA
Coronado School of the Arts is San Diego’s premier public arts school providing intense, pre-professional arts education to more than 200 high school students from all over the county. Student artists are selected to attend CoSA, in conjunction with nationally-ranked Coronado High School, after a competitive application/audition process. Students spend three or more hours a day working in one of six conservatories: Classical and Contemporary Dance, Digital Arts, Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre & Drama, Theatre Production, Design & Management and Visual Arts, in addition to attending classes at Coronado High School.  About twenty five percent of the CoSA budget is raised each year by the CoSA Foundation. If you would like to see the arts continue to thrive in education, please consider making a donation at




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