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When Opposites Attract...

What happens when you give 100 local high school students canvases, a theme, and free rein to create?

See for yourself by visiting Opposites Attract, a juried exhibition of artwork by Montgomery County High School students. This is the fourth year that the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus has held the contest and exhibition for students -- and the fourth year that Plaza Arts of Rockville has donated 100 canvases.

The exhibit -- which spans the University's two galleries in the 9605 Building Atrium and the A&R Cafe -- officially opened with a reception for more than 100 guests on January 14 and will remain on display at the campus until March 24.

“The talent and range of styles were incredibly impressive,” said Eric Beatty, Director of Homewood Arts Programs, Johns Hopkins University. “It’s inspiring to see that these students value the creative process and are willing to work with such passion.”

Beatty served as one of the judges for this year’s show, and said doing so “was a rewarding experience.”

Beatty’s co-judge was Rebecca Gordon, a Virginia-based artist and Board member of Artomatic, a one-of-a-kind multimedia event involving hundreds of regional artists, performers and volunteers.

High schools represented in this year’s show include Albert Einstein High School (including the MCPS Visual Art Center), Damascus High School, Gaithersburg High School, Montgomery Blair High School, Paint Branch High School, Rockville High School, Sherwood High School, Springbrook High School, and Thomas Wootton High School.

“The theme of Opposites Attract was quite a challenge for my students,” said Mygenet Harris, an art teacher at Paint Branch High School. “They really had to think to come up with a strong individual concept that translated well in medium and technique. As a teacher, it was exciting to nurture these students so they could find their way.”

Harris said she welcomed this opportunity for her students to be involved in a “real artist experience” where their work was juried and exhibited.


  • First Place: Natalie Cunningham, Thomas Wootton HS, with Signal in the Snow
  • Second Place: Xinhong Qui, Montgomery Blair HS, with Death|Life
  • Third Place: Michelle Hahn, Sherwood HS, with Two Worlds Collide
  • Honorable Mention: Janetta Deppa, MCPS Visual Art Center at Albert Einstein HS, with Oil and Water; Nature and Our Impact Upon It
  • Honorable Mention: Jackelyn Gitlin, Damascus HS, with Teatime with Death
  • Honorable Mention: Patrick Ngako, Paint Branch HS, with Peace Keeper

Exhibit hours:

  • 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Friday
  • 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday


(l-to-r) Patrick Ngako, Jackelyn Gitlin, Janetta Deppa, Michelle Hahn, and Natalie Cunningham