With a curriculum that prompts students to actively engage in inquiry, White Mountain seniors oftentimes finish their high school careers with an impressive resume of self-driven academic achievements.
Current senior and visual arts natural Kexu “Dora” Duan shares the manifold successes and passions she has found here at The White Mountain School. Winner of the 2016 Excellence in Art Award here at White Mountain, as well as the Gold Prize of Scholastic Art Awards of New Hampshire, Dora was chosen for a summer internship at the Xi’an Art Museum and asked to participate in the Second International Art Exhibition in her hometown that same year. Recently, Dora showcased her own art in an art exhibition in the Manupelli Student Gallery, in Bethlehem, NH. Dora will be attending New York University in the fall to continue her career in art!
You seem to be very successful at art here at school. What inspired you to follow an art career?
I decided to study fine art after serious deliberation and communication with my family, teachers and friends at White Mountain. I have been enthusiastic about drawing since childhood and was given the chance to study Studio Art here at a school where I was able to deepen my understanding and sharpen my skills. The inquiry process for each project in Studio Art class inspires me to try new things and explore my creativity. For example, when I first attempted ink painting in Studio Art class, I decided to paint on a different medium apart from white paper. I took pages from a discarded book from school’s library and painted on them. Then I deliberately disrupted the page order to make the layout interesting. I enjoyed playing with these painted book pages and my final work was highly recognized by my teacher. That also inspired my future artwork.
Do you have a favorite class at White Mountain?
My favorite class at The White Mountain School is Studio Art, which I am also taking as my LASR project and as an AP course. I really enjoy how this class is set up – I feel it allows me to pursue the specific niches of the art world in which I am interested. There are several independent projects throughout the semester where I can fully develop my ideas and put them into practice. I also feel my art skills, like painting, graphite and sculpting, have improved a lot through the daily practice I receive from this class.
What do you like to do outside of classes? What is your favorite hobby here at school?
I like to listen to music and hang out with my friends. I also like to play guitar and flute. I have individual lessons each week from teachers outside of White Mountain. They will come to the school and give me lessons, which is really convenient and has been a great way for me to pursue something outside of classes here at White Mountain. As for the community, I love how White Mountain is such a small school. You get to know everyone and you end up with some really close friends as a boarding student. Living in this community has been an incredibly valuable experience and a supportive one as I’ve worked to pursue my career in art.