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Arts in Action

By Amy Ruza

This week, youth visited The Rockwell Museum to experience ART IN ACTION! We looked at art using our senses and played movement-themed games.

In the Nancy Lamb: Through the Artist Lens exhibition, we looked at large scale oil paintings that depict people in different social environments. The artist, Nancy Lamb captures people in candid poses and with different facial expressions. These moments, when we are not posing for the camera, capture our distinctive personalities that make us unique and special.

“I am trying to catch the true spirit of the moment” – Nancy Lamb

 Youth were asked to react to the paintings by imitating poses, creating small actions and responding to the emotions portrayed. We stood in a circle around selected paintings and imitated each other’s movements in silence. It was fun bending and twisting our bodies in a theatrical way to interpret the art.

Then, we played the “Object Game.” A basket of small random objects was passed out. Students walked and carefully looked around the gallery to select an artwork that they thought connected to their object and then placed their object in front of their selected artwork. The activity was an engaging way for the youth to slow down and look closely at the artwork to make creative connections to art and their objects.

It was fascinating to listen to the youth share about why they paired their object with a particular artwork. In this game there was no right or wrong pairing. It was all about making an imaginative connection to objects and art.

We looked at the handkerchief installation, Needle-and-Bowl by artist Melissa Vandenberg. For this antigravity installation, we all turned our heads up to the ceiling to see the hundreds of hanging handkerchiefs. We talked about what a handkerchief is used for – sweat, tears and SNOT! These handkerchiefs literally held microscopic pieces of a person’s DNA in their fibers. Don’t worry, the ones on display have been washed.

We talked about how the modern day disposable tissue replaced the handkerchief about 100 years ago, so most people don’t carry around hankies anymore. We noticed the different colors, patterns and ornamentation in the elegantly hanging handkerchiefs. We pondered, why would something that is going to get dirty be so pretty?

The display of handkerchiefs memorialize, or help us remember, their users. Each handkerchief in the installation represents a person and their unique life.

In the Museum’s Education Center, students designed and painted their own special one-of-a-kind handkerchief inspired by nature, gardens, and the art from the Museum collection. We talked about the places we enjoy visiting to experience nature, the types of plants that grow there, the animals that live there, and what you see in the sky above or in the dirt below your feet. The handkerchiefs were full of colorful patterns and nature symbols that expressed the individuality of each student.

During the project process, we had to wait for the designs to dry before adding a wash of color. While waiting, youth played a game called Picaria, a traditional tic-tac-toe style board game played by the Zuni Tribe of the American Southwest. Learning games that are similar to the ones we are familiar with was a great way to expose students to different cultures and how certain games can have multiple versions.

The gallery and project experiences aimed to help build students’ confidence, encouraged problem-solving and fostered a greater appreciation for arts and culture. Experiencing the museum using our whole bodies and all of our senses provided a different perspective on how we can appreciate art and the world around us.

I look forward to seeing all the brightly colored handkerchiefs on display at the upcoming Garden of Fire Festival on August 9 at CareFirst when we all come together to celebrate the youth accomplishments.

Animals in Motion!

By Ian McLaughlin

Animals can move by slithering, crawling, walking, jumping, flying, hopping, swimming, and more, so the possibilities for what the children could expect for their adventure were endless. At Tanglewood Nature Center we paired an animal with their most common movement and at the end of the 45-minute show the kids had the chance to try and move like them. It was quite entertaining watching them popcorn like a guinea pig, crawl like a cockroach, twist like a gecko, stick to the wall like a tree frog, and fly like an owl. My favorite animal movement has to be the tree frog because, lacking the ability to climb, we simply imitated our Gray Tree Frog “Gluey” by sticking our hands to the wall and holding them there. The kids expected more movement with that initial gesture so we all got a good laugh when I immediately moved on to the next animal movement.

It is the Garden of Fire Summer of Motion this year and I spent the past week traveling all over beautiful Steuben County to bring animals to the different youth centers. I visited the Salvation Army of Corning, Corning Youth Center, Addison Youth Center, and I met up with Paul Shepard for the Canisteo/Hornell program in a beautiful indoor facility in Canisteo this year. I drove back through a torrential rainstorm and lived to tell the tale.

What a great week!

 

Land, Air and Sea at the Heritage Village

By Pat Monahan

We continued the Garden of Fire 2019 theme of movement at the Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes from July 16-19.  Addison Youth Center, Corning Youth Center, Hornell Area Concern for Youth and the Salvation Army (Corning) will step back in time to movement in the 1800s.  Nothing traveled at the speed of light other than light.  Movement consisted of feet on the ground, boats in the water, and the first attempts at air travel using a biplane and a propeller in 1903.  Everyone who visits the Heritage Village with the Garden of Fire will have fun with movement in the air, on the land and in the sea.  Here is what the kids did during their visit to the Heritage Village;

  • Games of the 1800s included outdoor games such as using stilts, playing bocce ball, racing with hoops and sticks, and playing checkers, shut the box and dominoes inside.
  • Racin’ on the Water succeeded in pitting one sailboat or a barge against another for a race to the finish line.
  • Flyin’ through the air saw us make paper airplanes designed to fly through a hoop in midair and hit a bullseye using different materials to build the plane.

I don’t know what your idea of fun is, but at the Heritage Village we like to try things that you have never done before and have a blast doing it.  Kids did exactly that in the 1800s and so can you in 2019.

Wind Chimes in Motion

By Brooke Muñoz-Halm

To explore this year’s theme of Summer in Motion, the kids worked with stoneware clay to make wind chimes at 171 Cedar Arts Center. When completed, these wind chimes will capture the natural movement of the wind to create a beautiful summer sound.

Where Clay Comes From

The tradition of pottery making dates back to over 2,000 years ago. In fact, archaeologists have found pots and bowls made of clay that are thousands of years old. Many years ago, pottery was functional, made for everyday use, such as: water carrying, for cooking and food storage.  Artists used traditional hand-building techniques to make pottery.

Clay How-To

Garden of Fire participants used a design handout for decorative inspiration and sketched ideas for the wind chime designs before working with the clay. We focused on the geometric patterns and nature symbolism that were also popular motifs on many native-made pieces of pottery The Rockwell Museum showed us.

At 171 participants learned how to:

  • Make a pinch pot
  • Use clay stamps
  • Roll a slab of clay
  • Use various tools to design the wind chimes

Post-molding

Now that the wind chimes have been fabricated, they will dry out. A clear glaze will be painted on and the wind chimes will be fired to about 2000°F. The firing will take an entire day to complete and then a whole second day to cool down before the wind chimes can be removed from the kiln. After they are fired, the wind chimes will be strung together so that they can be hung up. Each wind chime will be on display at the Garden of Fire Festival on August 9th.

Wind Chime Workers

  • Amanda Warren, 171 Cedar Arts
  • Amy Ruza, Rockwell Museum
  • Christina Nurczynski, 171 Cedar Arts
  • Brooke Muñoz-Halm, 171 Cedar Arts
  • Katie, Rockwell Museum HSLC Intern
  • Mary Franklin, Rockwell Museum Docent

Summer of Motion Begins!

By Connie Sullivan-Blum

A new season has begun for the Garden of Fire, an arts and science summer program in Steuben County! The 2019 theme is Movement and we will be exploring everything from the experience of dance to the science behind how plants move! Research has shown that summer programming is important to childhood education because it keeps learning skills fresh. Garden of Fire meets this need with fun and creative sessions.

The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes is proud to collaborate with 171 Cedar Arts Center, CareFirst, Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes, Tanglewood Nature Center and the Rockwell Museum to serve youth in our county. When we give our children the attention they need, they grow up to care for our community. Let’s keep the cycle of life moving with the Garden of Fire!