For Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons senior Jennifer Canale, art is more than a hobby, it’s a way of life.

For Canale — Jennie to her friends — art is her passion, her creative outlet. A lifelong Catholic school student, Canale started at St. John the Evangelist and when that school closed, she continued at St. Madeleine Sophie School and arrived at NDBG for sixth grade. The youngest of three girls, Canale said that Catholic school was a commitment her family made to their children and she is grateful for the opportunity.

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons has a long-standing tradition of competing in the statewide Olympics of the Visual Arts (OVA), usually held in Saratoga in the late winter. This competition draws art students from across the state displaying their creations in various forms. In fact, NDBG has been the only Catholic school to compete in this event for many years.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 had different plans for the last two years, but that didn’t deter Canale, who has participated in the contest for seven years, from submitting her entry virtually.

Canale works with several mediums as she creates. During lockdown she worked on jewelry, with watercolors, colored pencils and expanded her cartooning skills. She says that her mood drives her subject matter and the way she will express herself. For this year’s OVA, the assignment was to portray your favorite artist as a superhero. For Canale that was an easy choice: She selected Samson Weinberg, an artist based in New York known for his “Synesthesia” paintings. Synesthesia is seeing and experiencing music as texture and color. Canale discovered the artist on social media during the pandemic and it opened a new world of interpreting both art on canvas or paper and as music.

Canale worked diligently to capture just the right image to submit for the competition. She chose to work in colored pencils for the project. While she didn’t capture a top prize, she did receive honorable mention.

When asked about her future after graduation, Canale said that art will always be an important part of her life. She will combine art and business when she starts at the Paul Mitchell School in the fall. In September of 2022, Canale will continue her education at Siena to major in business, and will be working art classes into her studies.

As for leaving Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, Canale said: “I know I will be losing some of the safety and comfort that come from being at this school, but I’m ready to move forward.”