La Jolla High’s Green Dragon Art Show explores students’ individual and common perspectives

Julia Varon, Lee Mueller, Stella Campion, Lia De Witte, Audrey DeMerchant, Ana Abell, Angie Hou and Kiana Thacker
The work of eight students in La Jolla High School art teacher Susanne Friedrich’s Advanced Placement studio will be featured in the Green Dragon Art Show starting Friday, May 12. From left are Julia Varon, Lee Mueller, Stella Campion, Lia De Witte, Audrey DeMerchant, Ana Abell (in back in orange), Angie Hou and Kiana Thacker.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The show, featuring works by eight students, will open with a reception on Friday, May 12.


Student artists at La Jolla High School have prepared an exhibit that expresses their individual outlooks while recognizing their common perspectives.

The sixth Green Dragon Art Show, named for the famed Green Dragon Colony in La Jolla that the LJHS art studio is remodeled after, will have an opening reception at 5 p.m. Friday, May 12, in the lobby of the school’s Parker Auditorium at 750 Nautilus St.

After that, those who want to see the exhibit will have to buy a ticket to La Jolla High’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” which plays at 7 p.m. May 12, 13, 19 and 20 and 2 p.m. May 21. Tickets are $10-$15 for the evening shows and $5-$10 for the matinee at

The art show (held annually except for 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation) is put on by students in LJHS art teacher Susanne Friedrich’s Advanced Placement studio.

Eight students are in this year’s show, titled “A Student’s Perspective”: Ana Abell, Stella Campion, Audrey DeMerchant, Lia De Witte, Angie Hou, Lee Mueller, Kiana Thacker and Julia Varon. All have multiple pieces in the exhibit.

Each student picked an individual theme that answers a question.

“My essential question is, what will our future look like?” said Lee, a senior.

The students answered their questions through art, creating a personal story, he said.

Lee, who works primarily in acrylics, said his pieces portray a dystopian future. “I’m trying to make a warning of what our future would look like if we don’t take proper precautions,” he said.

One of his paintings depicts a zoo in which humans are caged and robots are the visiting observers. “Maybe in the future, robots will view humans as just another animal,” he said.

“The thing that really relates all our pieces together is the fact that we’re all students.”

— Lee Mueller

The students have worked on their themes throughout the school year, said Audrey, a senior. Her theme is “based on memories and appreciating the things we have lost,” she said.

Audrey works mostly in digital media, but one of her Green Dragon pieces is in ink, a blend of Tim Burton-esque illustrations with nuances of Salvador Dali that explores “childhood fears and letting go of the things that we’re afraid of and moving on,” she said.

Stella, a junior, based her portfolio on multiple facets of girlhood, with an eye on combating how teenage girls are often portrayed in stereotypical ways.

“Each of my pieces is based around the different aspects of that life to show [an] authentic experience,” she said.

One of her pieces in the show is a painting of herself “from a third-person perspective, showing a look into my life,” Stella said.

Kiana, a junior, wondered “if our lives are determined by fate or destiny,” she said.

Her art explores “our parents’ influence on our lives,” along with how some people believe their zodiac signs determine their personality, strengths and weaknesses.

Lia, also a junior, said she likes to integrate “the macabre and a melancholy sweetness” in her work. One of her pieces is titled “The Butterfly Testament,” a composition of bloodied hands and butterflies on a lavender background.

The students' portfolios in the Green Dragon Art Show are individually themed.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

“Something that has always held me captive was my own search of finding myself,” Lia said, “and I’ve had a pretty adventurous life of just running when things got rough. [What] always brought me back was the fact that butterflies had to go through this really long process before they got their wings. … I just have to get to that point, where I can finish my process and be set free.”

Her art “is medicine for my soul,” she said. “It combines a lot of things that I find very depressing [with] pastel colors … and butterflies to create a lightheartedness.”

Ana, a sophomore, displays math concepts like basic shapes within a portrait of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“It demonstrates how a person can be made up of just a bunch of shapes,” Ana said.

Angie, a senior, said the theme of her portfolio is freedom. One of her pieces of a house cat explores what a cat might want being inside all day.

Julia declined to be interviewed.

The show’s title reflects that “the thing that really relates all our pieces together is the fact that we’re all students,” Lee said.

A student’s view differs from an adult’s in that in “our generation, we have experienced so many new things and because we have a younger enthusiasm for life … we’re far more open to new ideas,” Lee said. “So that can be expressed through our work.” ◆