The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Senior Chloe Lee Reframes Art One Photo at a Time

Large rectangular banners line the left wall of the Creative Arts and Design Center as students enter the building from its main entrance. The banners feature students peering through camera lenses, playing the trumpet, acting as mimes and dancing. Students are greeted with a poster that reads ‘Celebrating 100 Years of Arts’ in Menlo’s staple gold and blue colors. Senior Chloe Lee walked in, saw these photos and had a vision: she decided that she was going to reinvent the CADC wall. 

She noticed that the photos on the CADC wall were taken years ago by the school featuring students who had already graduated. “I saw that the photos were really outdated,” Lee said. “So I decided to create my own photography.” 

Last spring, Lee started planning a year-long project to replace the photos on the CADC wall with six posters for each discipline that constitutes the Menlo arts. The orchestra and the jazz band may mesh into one music banner, while moviemaking and photography will merge in another. She will depict dance, drama, fine arts and vocal music on different banners tied together by a secret theme. A 16-photo collage will also line the CADC wall adjacent to the entrance with portraits of current students engaging in different aspects of the arts. “This is more of a creative approach to representing Menlo’s creative arts,” Lee said. “The theme is movie posters. We’re going to create a poster for each of the arts.” 

Lee is still in the planning stages of her project, having only made sketches of the designs. She hasn’t taken the photos yet because she is still deciding who she should represent on the wall. Lee is also planning on incorporating animation and graphic design into her photography posters to represent that aspect of the creative arts. She hopes to hang the photos on the wall in the spring before she graduates.  

Because the students on the wall have already graduated, Lee believes that the current photos don’t represent the creative arts department today. One of Lee’s goals is to showcase an array of arts and she hopes to create timeless pieces that don’t need to be updated for at least the next 4 years. 

When it comes to photography projects, this isn’t Lee’s first rodeo. She took photos for the sophomore Semi-Formal Dance and hung them in the student center, in addition to creating a photo booth for Valentine’s Day.  Lee took photos of students holding a physical frame she made that said ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and then printed them out. Then, last spring, Lee pitched her newest idea to her photography teacher Amanda Kyed. “When she has a project, she’s really dedicated to it,” Kyed said.

Lee is working with Photographer and Digital Content Specialist Kevin Chan, who encouraged her to make her project long-term and is now helping her pick designs. Since Chan already had plans to redesign the CADC wall, he offered to collaborate with Lee. “I think it’s great that we’re having a student work on this as opposed to it just coming from […] the staff or the school’s administration,” he said. “That way it’s a projection of the arts from [a] student’s perspective.” 
While Chan provides some direction in terms of logistics, Lee is ultimately responsible for creating the pieces and designing the wall. “She’s quite cognizant of what can look good in spaces and how to tie things together,” Chan said. “She’s just been very excited to work on this project.” Lee plans on studying architecture in college and is creating an art portfolio to send to colleges. 

The camera is a creative outlet for Lee. “Through the camera lens you can see things that you can’t really see if you weren’t looking through the camera,” Lee said. “It gives you a different angle on a lot of things that I feel like you can incorporate into your own life as well.”

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About the Contributor
Amelie Giomi, Spread Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: interviewing different types of people and bringing unique stories to light

Interests outside of school: soccer, baking, spending time with my two dogs and friends
Class of 2025

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