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Eight Visual Arts Ravens Showcased by DPAC Rising Stars

Clockwise from top left: “Joshua” by Juno Spilker ’25; “Cocytus” by Spencer Koste ’24​​​​; “Sea Turtles” by Linh Tran ’26; “The Faerie Forest” by Shirley Yang ’25  

Eight Upper School visual arts students have been recognized by the Durham Performing Arts Center’s Rising Star Awards for outstanding submissions in a range of media. Their work will be on display at a special pop-up gallery at the DPAC in Durham on Thursday, May 9.

The visual arts program, made possible by a partnership between the long-running Rising Star Awards and the Durham Art Guild, was juried by José Cruz, Kelly Oakes and Ina Liu. The Ravenscroft students are among more than 20 art students from across the Triangle whose work was selected for exhibition.

Congratulations to these students:

  • Spencer Koste ’24, “Cocytus”

  • Zora Mourning ’24, “Tango”

  • Eve Caudill ’25, “Just Like Virginia Beach”

  • Nick DeGiacinto ’25, “Serengeti”

  • Juno Spilker ’25, “Joshua”

  • Shirley Yang ’25,  “The Faerie Forest”

  • Linh Tran ’26, “Sea Turtles”

  • Cashier Brooks ’26, “Venturing”

Here are excerpts from the artist statements for the images shown at right.

Juno Spilker ’25 explained of her process for “Joshua”: “While this was not my first linocut print I had made, it was my first one in color. The limit to the amount of color we could use was five, including the white of the paper, so I tried to push myself to use a more limited color palette of mostly browns, which I typically don’t do. Because of the medium I also had to use harder edges for the forms in the print, where I usually soften edges. I chose the subject of someone sleeping because it allowed me to have so much negative space with the sheets and pillow.” 

With his fiber print “Cocytus,” Spencer Koste ’24 explained, “Every time I look at this photo, I am reminded of the strength of life and its will. Gazing out into the vast barren landscape, the icy wind brushing my face and the cold sinking into my bones, I am reminded that many people might consider the Arctic dull and static. However, there is beauty in the rough sea, untouched snow and the hues of grey and blue. …  Shot on Hp5 at 1600 ISO to give contrast and grain, I chose to exaggerate the surrealism of the surroundings.”

Linh Tran ’26 said her acrylic work “Sea Turtles” considers in part the threat that pollution poses to sea life.  “The unrealistic bright colors are a reflection of the plastic in the ocean. I was inspired by Lisa Frank, and I thought the bright colors would make it more captivating. I wanted to make the painting fantasy-like to express how many people enjoy the beach but forget the sad reality that our world is diminishing if we don’t do anything about it.”

“I’ve always loved the fantasy genre and been fascinated by stories of faeries,” Shirley Yang ’25 said of her inspiration for “The Faerie Forest.” “With this mosaic, I tried to encapsulate the magic and wonder I feel when engaging with the fantasy genre with my use of lighting and my slightly unusual color choices.”

View all of the selected works here.