Tag Archives: art

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.

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

Week 2: SeedScapes

by Maryalice Little of Harp & HeART

The biological definition of pollination involves birds and bees and flowers. But the idea of pollination can also be used in a broader sense. Pollination also occurs when one idea generates another idea, when one thing leads to another.

 

This year, CareFirst and Harp & HeART presented Seedscapes in week two of the Garden of Fire program. Maryalice Little played various moods of live harp music, helping to pollinate the ideas that each participant holds in his/her heart and mind. The unique seeds produced will be the creative expressions, the “mark making” using a variety of media, which each participant is inspired to draw.

Last year, a shorter version of this program was offered at the end of summer celebration. After listening to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the traditional Greensleeves, and an improvisation, one young participant was particularly articulate in her drawings and explanations including ideas of happiness and sadness, a sense of separation and helping each other.Gof.jpg

A Sweet Relationship with the Natural World

by Connie Sullivan-Blum
Executive Director, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes

Who was the first human to discover the sweetness of honey?

How did they take the leap from simply stealing honey from a hive to actually cultivating the bees?

Our relationship with the natural world has been formed over time by creative surges. 

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Every tool we’ve designed, every plant discovered, every recipe concocted, every animal domesticated, every continent explored represents a mixture of imagination and trial and error, which are in turn the building blocks of art and science.  From this foundation, history pollinates the future.

The Garden of Fire program celebrates the artist and scientist in all of our children!

STEM to STEAM

At this point in our history, educational priorities are focused on STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. This is a lopsided view of values in education. We need to encourage our school districts and educators to prioritize STEAM: science, technology, engineering, ART and math.

Artwork is the application of many of these other areas of education. Artists deal with physics and chemistry because they work with materials that have specific properties and limits. They deal with mathematics as they confront geometry, measurements and mechanics. Technology and engineering are utilized as they are in every other arena of production – the thing produced must work! It must be stable and function.

Artwork has been devalued as impractical. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, at the same time, artwork is creative.  It can be fanciful. This should not be used to denigrate art, but rather to reveal what it has to offer to other disciplines. Engineers and scientists must be creative. They must be inventive. Like artists, they must explore the boundaries of what has already been done to see what might be done.

Education must encourage creativity in all its forms. This will help our children build a world that can address unforeseen challenges including repercussions from climate change, population pressures and changing social, political, and environmental situations. Now, more than ever, we need our artists to give us the vision – a practical vision – for the future.

The students involved in the Garden of Fire are not worried about any of this. They are simply learning and having fun. It is our job to think about this on their behalf.

Connie Sullivan-Blum
Executive Director of The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes

 

 

2017 Garden of Fire Kick-Off

The Garden of Fire is back!

This year, with the Summer of Earth, we’ll be highlighting projects and themes related to life cycles, animal habitats, gardening, and so much more.

As always, the program kicked off with the reading and puppet show of the Garden of Fire Story. This week, Londyn (age 10) and Knightly (age 7) from the Addison Youth Center tell us their interpretation of the Garden of Fire story, as well as what they did this week at the program!

Friendship is a topic in the story of the Garden of Fire. It is important in the story because you need to treat your friends nicely. The characters in the story are the fox, eagle, dragon fly, bear, turtle, deer and Pauline, and they are all friends. They treat each other nicely. We have friends too and we treat them kindly. When one of us is sad or someone is being mean we stand up for one another.

We also learned about habitats and animals. Knightley’s favorite animal was Sophie the great horned owl because she has lots of ways to adapt to different habitats. Londyn’s favorite animal was the chinchilla because it was fluffy and it was the softest animal in the world. We also did a art project.

The art project was about the animals that Ian from Tanglewood Nature Center brought today. Knightley made a owl she thought it was a fun and exciting project. Londyn’s  favorite part was making a habitat for a owl. We also talked about what animals do for us.

Thanks, Londyn and Knightly – see you next week!                                      

It Takes a Village

The culminating festival for the Garden of Fire was a tremendous success from every aspect.

It takes a village,” as they say, and the program and festival could not have happened without all the amazing educators, artists, and community volunteers. We were delighted to have parents join us in celebrating their children’s accomplishments. The youths are the heart and joy of the program with their enthusiasm and eagerness to try new things.

The Garden of Fire: Summer of Water ironically took place during weeks of severe drought and heat in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Each week of programs centered on topics including nature, growing cycles, healthy food, and art – highlighting the connection to water, importance of potable (drinkable) water, sounds & rhythms of water through music, reliance on water for life on Earth, and water pollution and conservation.

Suddenly, three days before the festival we were surprised with a series of thunderstorms and downpours. The much-needed water finally came! Naturally, we were a bit worried for the festival, BUT the morning of the celebration the dark clouds cleared and the sun shone bright and hot!

Kids reveled in all the water-themed activities, live music, art displays and games which opened and closed with a special ceremony.

In closing, we thank everyone who contributed and we look forward to 2017!

Amy Ruza
Education Programs Coordinator
The Rockwell Museum