Holman buys students’ artwork for $600

Sam Klein, Visuals Manager

Holman Buys Student Artwork for $600

Drawings by seniors Jackson Moreno-Field, Tony Ji and Jess Newman hang in Headmaster Deborah Holman’s office. Photo by Sam Klein.

Headmaster Deborah Holman’s office is adorned with colorful, elaborate prints and drawings. A few hang directly above her desk, strikingly prominent against the blank walls.

Rather than choosing paintings from an art gallery, however, Holman prefers student-created artwork.

Recently, Holman acquired drawings made in Visual Arts teacher Donna Sartanowicz’s art classes.

“I have a big office with a bunch of white walls, and my theory for being a high school administrator is; you put students’ artwork on your walls,” Holman said. “That’s what the decoration is. It reminds you of why you’re here.”

The artists are seniors Tony Ji, Jackson Moreno-Field and Logan Roche. Holman said that she also offered to buy senior Jess Newman’s drawing. Although Newman said she decided to not sell, her painting still temporarily resides in Holman’s office.

Ji, Moreno-Field and Roche sold their drawings for $150 each. Moreno-Field said Sartanowicz played a role in determining the price.

Each drawing is vertically oriented, around 2 feet by 6 feet. Roche’s includes a three-dimensional component, eggs in a nest that protrude from the piece. All four are prominent in the office, and pop out immediately against the otherwise vacant walls.

Holman started purchasing student artwork as the Newton North High School Vice Principal; many of the pieces purchased there still hang in her office.

“When kids come into the office, and when faculty and parents come into the office too, they love that there is art up on the walls,” Holman said. “The kids especially love that it is Brookline High School’s kids’ art.”

In addition to buying works, Holman said that she has always been an artist. Holman was a Studio Art minor in college and continued painting after college.

“I just love student art. I’m an artist myself, and when I don’t get to do art, I like to appreciate it, and I don’t like buying fancy, expensive art. I like stuff that my friends do and students at the high school do,” Holman said.

Holman also provided students with new opportunities by choosing their pieces. Moreno-Field said that he had never sold a drawing before, and he jumped at the opportunity.

“I’ve always just drawn for fun,” Moreno-Field said. “It was a really fun experience, especially knowing that someone valued my artwork that much to buy it.”

Even though Newman did not sell her painting, she said that she agreed with Moreno-Field.

“It was really cool to know that somebody wanted to buy a piece of your work,” Newman said. “Especially as someone who wants to be an artist, it makes you feel really good and really happy when someone actually likes your art enough to pay money for it.”