THE PORTRAIT PLACE


This space of memorial and reflection invites us to investigate the meaning of the figures gathered here. The figures in this piece were created by student participants of Art All-State Massachusetts, a competitive program that seeks to bring together high school students from across the state to work collaboratively with contemporary artists. 


Inspired by the longstanding history of artists using the creative process as both a form of personal expression and as a mechanism for self-care, each artist in this installation was asked to reflect on their own personal vulnerabilities and resiliencies to craft a self-portrait. The resulting portraits aim to visually encapsulate the way these two forces struggle for balance within themselves. 

Each individual figure in this installation was made using PiktoTape at the homes of 58 high school students throughout Massachusetts and carefully packed and mailed to the museum for assembly. The final composition and installation was completed by Tape Artists Leah Smith and Michael Townsend.


Below is a guide to the meaning of the individual figures made by Art All State participants.

Using the numbers from the diagrams below, scroll down to find each artists' name and artist statement.

01.  CAROLYN CASS / Lenox Memorial High School
Vulnerability:  I feel vulnerable when I am faced with a problem without a clear answer and no one to turn to.
Resilience:  I feel strong when I know I have support and have the motivation to push through.


At the bottom of the piece lays my vulnerabilities and resiliences intertwined and it is my hope that I will learn to keep both in check, but always lean more to have empathy. Every single person is different and unique and we tend to forget that the majority is not simply a representation of the whole, when you have a very vocal minority.

02.  KATHERINE ZUIS / Cardinal Spellman High School
Vulnerability:  insecure thoughts
Resilience:  open-mindedness and awareness of the world around me


As seen on the left, my figure is shown to be reaching out towards the voices in my head that constantly criticize me. There is an image of the earth shown on top of my head to explain how I'm open-minded towards different people and situations, as well as my awareness of what's going on in the world.

03.  JENNY YU / Andover High School
Vulnerability:  stress and anxiety
Resilience:  compassion, the ability to create something out of nothing


Knotted and tangled vulnerabilities unravel, clearing the figures field of vision and tumbling down as tears to form the stuffed animal. The stuffed animal is made of vulnerabilities while simultaneously a symbol of a means to teaching compassion and love as well as easing distress and anxiety.

04.  JAI SANTORO / Groton Dunstable Regional High School
Vulnerability:  self-destruction
Resilience:  curiosity


My curiosity is sown through the fairy wings and mirror eyes while my self destructive behavior is shown through the tattered wings and serious stance.

05.  CARA GRAZADO / Marblehead High School
Vulnerability:  I take on too many projects.
Resilience:  I have a passion for trying new things and diversifying my activities.


In this piece I made a simplistic figure that demonstrates the flexibility as well as over-indulgence. The figure's right arm being upwards is a symbol of asking for help or reaching to the surface. In contrast to this, her flexibility allows her to stay upright, even when being pulled in more than one direction.

06.  JAMIE GOODALL / Wachusett Regional High School
Vulnerability:  sensitivity
Resilience:  goal-oriented and driven


My piece is about the duality of my aspiration and sensitivity. I want to accomplish as much as I possibly can ~ represented by the ball of energy that I'm reaching to. My sensitivity (which at times draws me back from my goals) is represented by myself melting, exposing the bones underneath.

07.  NICO CALDERON / Marlborough High School
Vulnerability: faded relationship

This piece is about the slow decay of a person's image over time. This piece is part of a memory I have of someone who was once important to me. Over time, this someone has become more and more of a blur or faded image, not much more exists than their figure in my head now

08.  SOPHIE HAYES / Ursuline Academy Dedham
Vulnerability:  self harm, abuse, physical trauma, insecurity
Resilience:  self-expression


This piece is an expression of breaking away from one's past anchors and taking control of one's self to perpetuate a future of confident individuality in the face of a suffocating society.

09.  GRETA COOPER / Smith Academy
Vulnerability:  balancing too much at once, being hard on myself, eating disorder
Resilience:  big heart and care for others (angelic nature), perseverance and will power


I have always been a caring, perceptive, passionate, and understanding person. I try my best to help others, and make sure that people are doing okay and that they have what need. However, I tend to prioritize everything but my own mental and physical health sometimes. Thankfully, I have people in my life to help me recognize that, who want the best for me and my health. I may have obstacles along the way, but nonetheless; I face it, and push through to the best of my abilities. I have seen, felt, and thought things I wouldn't wish for anybody else to experience - but I am more than what I have gone through. 

10.  ABBY THOMAS / Manchester Essex Regional High School

11.  ALEXA YASINSKI / Lenox Memorial High School
Vulnerability:  insecurity
Resilience:  perseverance


I am walking against a gust of wind, which makes me feel uncomfortable in my own body, cold, and partially exposed. But I am still able to stay strong and comforted by creativity latching onto and guiding me.

12.  VERONICA PARRETTI / West Boylston High School

13.  RACHEL PINA / Old Rochester Regional High School
Vulnerability:  struggling with racial identity
Resilience:  being able to accept myself and others


My Tape Art focuses on my journey to find and understand my own racial identity which really became a tangible challenge when I was nine and we moved to a new town with very little diversity. As I got older I found myself trying to hide the features that I didn't like, like my curly hair and the shape of my body, and it wasn't until recently that I began to accept my differences.

14.  ALYSSA LAHAISE / Norwood High School
Vulnerability:  insecurity
Resilience:  perseverance


The blue figure represents the part of me that thinks negative thoughts such as "Why should I try? What's the point if I will just fail?" and the green figure represents the persevering part of me that wants to try new things and work toward goals. The two figures are chained together, both weighed down by the insecurities in my heart.

15.  ELOISE MAYBANK / Milton Academy
Vulnerability: struggle with identity
Resilience: finding affirmation from within

The figure holds butterflies fleeting from their hands, as if they themselves have created them and they are letting that part of themselves be free. The butterflies represent a part of them that has been kept away, and could apply to anyone who feels they must hide an aspect of their identity.

16.  CHRISTOPHER HERBST / Medfield High School
Vulnerability:  isolation and insecurity
Resilience:  perseverance and growth


The isolation and insecurity are shown by the person holding themselves, turning to the left, and crying. The resilience of perseverance and growth is shown by the person's fears being absorbed by the flower that is built into their arm ~ representing that through hardships you grow as a person.

17.  KATE CONRAD / The Academy of Notre Dame
Vulnerability:  stress
Resilience:  staying calm


I tend to take on too much in school and other things can stress myself out - that turns my life into a balancing act. But, I do my best to stay calm and figure out creative ways to deal with my stress.

18.  LILY BARSAM-THOMPSON / Bedford High School

19.  KAITLYN LINDQUIST / Saint Paul Diocesan High School

20.  EVAN MICKEY / Braintree High School
Vulnerability: negative mindset
Resilience: empathetic and caring

Within this tape-piece self-portrait, I wanted to highlight the place on my body which is most important to me and for everyone, the mind. Yes, my mindset has shifted because of the pandemic but with positive influences outside of my head, I've been able to look at my struggles and grow from them. The bees which are all over the piece represent hard work and change since bees are known for their hard work within a hive.

21.  KATIE CLIFFORD / Hull High School
Vulnerability:  anxiety and self-image
Resilience:  empathy


The ear, open eye, and hand up to the ear represent the listening aspect of being empathetic with the whale/dolphin's tail representing the empathy of these incredible animals. The closed eye and the arm behind the back represent anxiety because I tend to shy away from comforting others, even when I really want to.

22.  BRADLEY BEAULAC / NAHS and North Middlesex Regional High School
Resilience:  caring


I am a very friendly and big-hearted person who cares for others. This character trait is emphasized with the double heart.

23.  CATRIN CAREY / Concord-Carlisle High School
Vulnerability: insecurity, self doubt, constant internalization
Resilience: caring, having a big heart

In this self-portrait, the large heart is indicative of my empathetic and caring nature, while the crossed arms represent the insecurity and self-doubt I experience. I kept the eyes closed to show internal reflection and daydreaming and show how I internalize my self-doubt so it is not visible to others.

24.  GRACE MANNING / Apponequet Regional High School
Vulnerability:  mental health, drowning in silence
Resilience:  pulling through

25.  AVARI LITKA / Manchester Essex Regional High School
Vulnerability:  having anxiety about one's self
Resilience:  ability to be outgoing


This kind of shows my shy side. I wish that I can be an outgoing person, but most of the time I am shy and quiet around large crowds of people. I feel like the body language in this piece kind of shows the shyness.

26.  MADDIE WALENT / Academy of Notre Dame
Vulnerability:  anxiety
Resilience:  empathy


This work shows the constant anxiety of an empathetic person. The anxiety of the world is represented by the smudges creeping up the legs meeting the sun rays. The sun is a depiction of the empathy being given out into the world. This piece is an ode to the simultaneous existence of something as positive as empathy and a feeling as negative as anxiety. 

27.  GRACE HEALY / Walpole High School
Vulnerability:  lost, confused, low self-confidence
Resilience:  boldness

28.  VERONICA REDLITZ / King Philip Regional High School
Vulnerability:  body image, self-consciousness, self-doubt
Resilience:  love and passion


My vulnerabilities are shown by the figure covering herself up and the blue squiggles clouding her mind as well as weighing her down at her feet and legs. The resiliences that interact with and combat these vulnerabilities are love and passion, shown in the flower-like shiny circles on her chest and arms, leading to the butterfly on her finger as a symbol of hope.

29.  EMMA BURNHAM / Norwell High School
Vulnerability: anxiety
Resilience: creativity

In my piece, I portrayed anxiety as my vulnerability through the melting of the dress, showing that I am sometimes fragile under pressure. On the other hand, I showed my creativity as a resilience, represented by my strong face and the universe in my hands.

30.  Z WATERS / Grafton High School
Vulnerability:  suppressed trauma
Resilience:  personal growth and self improvement


I made a "rib cage" with a Christmas card someone sent me who caused me a lot of pain. The lock, chain, and vines represent how all the bad things that have happened to me will always be a part of me. I just have to grow from then and the flowers expanding from the ribcage are literal representations of that growth.

31.  CAROLINE RAPS / Algonquin Regional High School

32.  LILY VAUGHAN / Hopkinton High School
Vulnerability:  physical insecurities
Resilience:  breaking through, confidence


The ropes attached to the limbs are society's hold on people to make them look a certain way. By holding the scissors and cutting the ropes the person is breaking away from societies hold on them.

33.  COOPER SWANSON / Masconomet Regional High School
Vulnerability:  fear of failure
Resilience:  creativity


The visualization of creativity is shown by the vine-like growth coming out from the ares around the heart. The fear of failure is shown where the brain would be as a rigid mass with multiple arms reaching out. The placement of the hands reinforce the fear of failure, trying to cover up the origin of the vine-like growths.

34.  FLEUR BALOGH DE GALANTHA / Grafton High School
Vulnerability:  OCD
Resilience:  empathy

The finger reaching out with an almost red vein structure leading to the heart of the figure represents the need to have that final touch in order to fulfill the idea having everything feel "just right" whilst the pink petal-like structures around the right shoulder represent the growth and empathy that I have achieved through the internal struggles with OCD. The left arm holding back the right implies that everything is ok and shows the growth that combats against OCD, and the leap by the left foot in the piece showcases the eagerness to continue on with my journey. 

35.  HARRIET NEELEY / Watertown High School
Vulnerability:  insecurity
Resilience:  confidence


I tend to be very insecure about anything related to myself (my art, etc.), but I can combat that by having confidence in myself and knowing that I work hard and I can't change myself, so it would be better to just accept myself.

36.  RACHEL GOODWIN / Nipmuc Regional High School
Vulnerability:  listening to others' criticisms
Resilience:  sparks of creativity


The head coming out of the shoulder is the voices from everyone else and self-doubt. Through it all I have always had a spark/fire within me which I believe is my strength.

37.  LIDIA VIDAL / Abington High School
Vulnerability:  clumsy, egotistical, irritable
Resilience:  persistent, humble, patient


Every detail in my drawing has meaning representing three vulnerabilities and three resiliences. For example the idea behind egotistical was to show me as this 'god-like' figure wearing a coral crown on my head, like a queen or a ruler. This egotism is (maybe ironically) countered by my humbleness which I try to show by the character having only one possession, a small artifact from nature, the simple conch shell.

38.  ERIC RAKOWSKI / Granby High School

39.  ISABELLA ANGELUCCI / North Middlesex Regional High School
Vulnerability:  society puts you into a box; preventing one's self growth
Resilience:  having the courage to break out of that box and allow yourself to grow


Growing up, my long hair has served as my security blanket that was accepted by society. It was a curtain that put a protective barrier between me and the outside world and as the years went on, the urge to remove this barrier grew until eventually I built up enough courage to do so. The comments from some of my closest friends were left-handed and uncalled for, but I refused to listen to what they had to say because I knew that by cutting my hair I was breaking down those barriers, which allowed me to grow out of my shell and become more comfortable with who I am.

40.  MICA HEATER / Franklin High School
Vulnerability:  daydreaming
Resilience:  emotional strength


My piece is about someone who struggles to keep their head out of the clouds, often drifting off on a daydream. However, even while their head is turned, they have a shield with a pig skull on it, keeping them safe from emotional pain and trauma, the skull implicating past struggles with said trauma.

41.  ACE WAINWRIGHT / Needham High School
Vulnerability:  afraid of addressing insecurities
Resilience:  perseverance


I often feel that society (the ship) loves to look at people suffering and just do nothing, forever curious to see what happens, but not caring enough to try and help out. In the piece the person drowning tries fighting off the waves of insecurities, still trying to survive against the odds.

42.  JULIE BUCKLEY / Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
Vulnerability:  depression
Resilience:  hope, optimism


In this piece, the girl is falling and being weighted down by the ribbon. Even though she is falling, her arm is fighting against gravity and is holding onto the star which symbolizes hope and optimism because despite the hard days and troubles that life throws at you, there is always something positive to look for. 

43.  JACKIE LIU / Weston High School
Vulnerability:  disconnection from Chinese cultural heritage
Resilience:  accepting both sides of cultural heritage


Despite the significant cultural displacement I've experienced, chopsticks are an implement that regularly connect me to my heritage. Thus, the chopstick hand symbolizes the remnants of my Chinese identity, while the fork hand represents the more "westernized" opposing forces.

44.  HANNAH JACQUES / Maynard High School

45.  MEGAN NAJARIAN / Milford High School
Vulnerability:  insecurities
Resilience:  confidence, resiliency


My piece is about a girl conquering her insecurities to become more confident. The vulnerability of insecurity is shown with the chains that cover her legs and feet. Her stance shows her resilience and confidence.

46.  AOIFE BERGERON / Medway High School
Vulnerability:  bad time management and procrastination
Resilience:  flexibility


The imagery of the clock pulling down my arm in the piece is used to show the harm of all the time consuming demands in my life. The weight of the clock and its chain are forcing my figure to be bent over backwards in an almost surreal contortionist position and represents my mental flexibility throughout my everyday life.

47.  HANNAH CHARRON / Apponequet Regional High School
Vulnerability:  anxiety
Resilience:  connection to nature, calm and caring personality


I chose to show myself my calmness in a sitting in a cross-legged pose like I am meditating while connecting with nature by holding an owl. My anxiety is shown with jagged arrows in my head that leave and becoming more straight as they get near the book (which is related to my calmness and has a peace sign on it.)

48.  KYLIE CALLEGEE / Canton High School
Vulnerability:  anxiety
Resilience:  courage

In my piece, my struggles with anxiety are represented by me tearing my chest open, because when I feel extremely anxious, I feel like I want to claw at and rip my chest open, with my insides darkened and crumpled up from negative thoughts. Courage is represented by the silver heart, staying resilient and intact despite my worries, and me opening my chest up may also represent me gaining the courage to 'open up' about my true feelings and my struggles.

49.  CINDY VATELIA / Canton High School
Vulnerability:  trauma, disorganization, lack of structure, creative block, social rejection
Resilience:  perseverance, love, peace, optimism, bravery


No one really knows me cause I always show my kind, loving, and peaceful good side. But this drawing depicts that currently in my life I have many insecurities and lack of structure and am very busy.

50.  NATALIE WARD / Wachusett Regional High School
Vulnerability:  wilting, vulnerability
Resilience:  growth, deciding what can be let go of versus cultivated, self-awareness


The goal is to be your best self, confident, and able to be vulnerable (center flower). Easy to get absorbed in work and let everything being to wilt = struggle.

51.  ABBIE DELORY / Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
Vulnerability:  frustration, inaction
Resilience:  heart, creativity, imagination


I have a hard time expressing myself through words, so I use my compassion and creativity to express myself and connect with others instead. I get so frustrated with myself sometimes for feeling stuck (symbolized by the block) what I just want to rip my head off.

52.  VIRGINIA BETTS / Beverly High School
Vulnerability:  confusion and stress
Resilience:  flexibility and structure


In my work, the intricate designs and controlled chaos represent how I combat stress in my life. The upside-down format and weird leg bend that I chose to have her be in represents the complete confusion and uncomfortableness of 2020 and the future; whether that be coronavirus, figuring out college stuff, or personal battles and being forced to become more flexible.

53.  GENNY DOCKERY / Cardinal Spellman High School
Vulnerability:  anxiety
Resilience:  art as therapy


In my piece, the woman is letting go of all her anxieties, frustrations, worries, doubts, and troubles. The flower in her hand represents inspIration since most inspIration I get for my artworks come from nature. By having the flower in her hand, she is focusing on art to get rid of her anxieties and troubles.

54.  HAZEL SCULLIN / Mount Greylock Regional High School

55.  WILL HANEY / Needham High School

Plato famously said, "In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the boy, but for the two together." Just as one must overcome the physical challenges that come with the development of one's own strength, there's also an equally difficult battle that goes on within one's own mind.

56.  BEC PATSENKER / Wayland High School
Vulnerability:  burnout, fading away, low swing of bipolar
Resilience:  passion, drive, high swing of bipolar


When I make art, I work with the feelings I can't seem to put into words. And although this piece was inspired by two stagnant descriptions, it quickly bled into the emotion of all of my vulnerabilities and resiliences.

57.  JESS STUTMAN / Oxford High School
Vulnerability:  detachment, self-hatred
Resilience:  forgiveness


The birds that are flying out of my body, when I feel detached by self-loathing, are helping me to fly to a better state of mind. They guide me and with their songs they teach me forgiveness. Ultimately, I am shown to be in a constant battle between the need to disappear from myself and the need to forgive myself.

58.  CJ HUDANICH / Norwell High School
Vulnerability:  restraint, social anxiety
Resilience:  compassion


The figure is protective and closed off, yet the bright core, located over the heart, shines brightly (as the shadows serve to hint at).

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