Friday, January 27, 2006

Art comes to Town-
There's a lot to commend this community to the world. There are advantages to living here. But, I also have to admit that there are disadvantages as well. Not to this community in particular, but rural communities in general.
There just aren't any museums or truly cultural events here. It's just impossible for the children in this area to ever have a field trip to an art museum, a science museum, a trip to a symphony concert or opera. Our kids tend to go to places like the local amusement park because it's loosely based on life 100 years ago.
To address this, the music teacher at the primary building (k and 1st) has a Culture day. In the past, it's focused on a particular country and the students rotate to different stations. This is a day when cooperation between the teachers and volunteers are at it's highest. It takes lots of people to make something like this happen. I've been there every year, helping in, typically, the messiest areas, but definitely the art areas.
This year, she's doing, "The Museum of Arts and Sciences". She's asked me to create the art gallery. Typically, the art teacher would be doing this, but we have a new teacher this year and she didn't want to have anything to do with it. I'm happy to do it.
I'm doing it as I would like to see our art system in this district work. I am asking for help from all the other art teachers. I'm asking for participation from local artists. I'm taking this as the opportunity for the students to see art and objects they might not get to see in real life.
I'm planning on setting this up as I've seen major museums do, art from different cultures around the world. Objects from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, as well as art from different time periods, including "famous" art, and then having local artists too.
I'm seeing how many pieces I can gather that are "copies" of famous art work. I know our local art guild had a challenge called, "inspired by the masters" in which the members had the ability to try copying a famous artists work to try to learn from the process. I am thinking a few of them would be willing to share theirs for that day. I asked one member about sharing some work, and she just handed over a $500 piece of art to me for this!
I'm making some copies myself here. I'm trying to do it cheaply a quickly, so I'm painting on foam core, and trying to come as close as possible to the oils. (yeah, right!) Hopefully, mixing a few of these in with the great art the locals do and the real objects from the different cultures, it will all look very convincing.
I asked the HS teacher if his students could make a mummy case for this project. I think it would make such an impact. As I was talking about the direction I want to go in, he mentioned wanting to bring his students over for it. Wow! That's what I wanted to hear!
I feel strongly about all this because I was raised in a rural area and never had the opportunity to visit museums. The first Museum I went to was the National Museum in London, a few days later, I was in the Lourve. The next museum I attended was the Met in NYC. I went from nothing to the Best. Since then, I've been to the Toledo art Museum, the Cleveland art museum,
the Chicago art institute and several other smaller museums around the country. I can't describe the feeling I get when I see a work of art that I've only seen in a book, or something so incredibly old, or something so unexpected.
I'd like this to be an example of cooperation between schools and community. I want this to be the best first chance a kid has to see some of these type objects. I want to use the friendships I've built over the years to make this the very best.


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