Awesome Artists

Yosemite High School art teacher, Evan Higgins, and his wife Kelly are excited to be new members of the community - but not as excited as Evan is about his art students.

“The students of YHS impress me everyday,” Higgins said. “The student art work is truly exceptional. They are engaged and strive to be better, and their critical thinking capacity is humbling.”

And Higgins wants the community to see exactly what he is talking about when the students host “Until Now,” an on-campus art exhibit, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, in the Badger Gallery.

“In a community that honors art we want to extend an invitation in hope that the public attendance and support will continue to encourage the great work these students are doing,” Higgins said. “This show is an amalgamation of 70 art pieces created by students of all levels that showcase what the YHS art department has been doing this school year.”

The show represents the accomplishments of the art students “Until Now.” Included in the show are works from all the classes offered in the YHS art program - Art 1, Art 2, Studio Art, AP Drawing and International Baccalaureate Visual Art.

One of those students is Elyse Espe, who had her love for art ignited as a child when introduced to finger-painting in kindergarten.

Espe, a junior, has her heart set on becoming a professional illustrator, and will major in art in college.

Espe, who has three pieces of her work in the show, describes Higgins as a great teacher who pushes every student out of their comfort zone.

“He pushes us and that opens new possibilities in our art work,” Espe said. “Mr. Higgins has really helped me draw more realistically, and taught me how to use pen and ink which is really cool.”

Another junior, Sahvannah Costerlla, is working on a 24-by-17-inch acrylic, pastel, and oil piece that is her interpretation of depression.

“I’ve been told that people with depression feel like they are drowning, but nobody can see it,” Costerlla said.

Higgins, 38, is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in Art Education, taught art at Gardenia High School for five years and created the school’s first art Advanced Placement (AP) program.

A working artist in addition to teaching, his work has been exhibited in many art museums and galleries in Southern California.

His hope for the YHS art program is to give the students the technical skills required to make good art and design, to help them hone their critical thinking process in order to communicate effectively, and expose them to the vast history of art and its relevance to today.

“My wife and I decided to relocate here in search of a higher quality of life and being fans of nature there was no hesitation when I was offered the job at Yosemite High School,” Higgins said. “We had spent some time exploring the Oakhurst area and Yosemite, and were charmed by the community, the kind people, and the way of life.”

His wife Kelly is a television producer that works from home in Oakhurst, and on location. Her latest project is for MTV.

Higgins said now that he has been in Oakhurst awhile, his expectations have been exceeded.

“In addition to the great students, the staff and leadership at YHS have gone out of their way to be supportive and encouraging, and the engagement of the students’ parents is exemplary,” Higgins said. “I simply can’t imagine being in a better place.”

Details: Evan Higgins, (559) 683-4667, ext. 273,