Monday, December 14, 2015

more art for the people

This semester has had us busy getting more public sculpture ready to install.  Corey Benjamin, now Mr. Benjamin, graduated from our MAT program and took over the art job at Brewer Middle School just a few minutes from campus.  He worked with his principal to arrange for a public sculpture project to help beautify their school.  Three of my students submitted proposals for work specifically designed for Brewer.

 Jarvis created a big dog bowl with raised bones and letters and a whole bunch of kibbles inside it.  Since his was an indoor piece all we had to do was roll it inside.

 Oscar wasn't so lucky.  His outdoor sculpture near the school library required some digging.

 Oscar's was a dog house with the school initials on the side and a giant book for a roof.

He and Rashaad are really good at posing for photos.

 Rashaad also had to do a little digging.  

 His was a typographic sculpture using the school initials.  It was installed right at the front entrance to the school.  Look how proud he is.

 Kristen (Dread) also got a little digging practice in.

 Her 13 foot tall steel lady was installed at Lander just outside the cafeteria.

Luke also made a cool one near the bridge.  His steel drawing is really difficult to photograph but it features a stump and axe, a sapling and a medium tree to show the cycle of life.  That's his proud face.

 Kayla installed her abstracted dirt dauber nest outside the Learning Center building.  I think that's her proud face too.

 Metal Megan was back again this semester making ambitious steel things.  

For her installation, we got to dig three holes in some very non-dig friendly ground.  She worked hard to get her puzzle piece idea to work with perspective on a large scale.  She did a great job....and that's her proud face too.

 Megan's installation is on the front campus lawn outside the science building.

 And Olivia was back again this semester too.  Well, kinda.  She was in my class but she also took on an ambitious project and wanted to do it in clay, which meant she spent most of the semester in the ceramics room instead of the sculpture room.  I'm not bitter.  

 Not only did she make life sized body parts out of clay, but she also decided to Raku fire them...which gave them an even higher chance of breaking.  And with the help of a little glue, she managed to keep most of her parts together for the installation.

 The body parts, two arms, two lower legs, two upper legs and a bust, are created out of clay and several of them act as planters for flowers and a tree.  This one deals with the impact humans have on nature and vice versa.  That's not Olivia's proud face.  She's almost as goofy as I am.

 Hers is also hard to photograph, but there's a wider shot of the arrangement.

 Daisha also took on an ambitious project.  Her one large origami crane made out of steel turned into two cranes.  And then three.  She did some very precise math and then some very precise work with the plasma torch.  Then she did a lot of grinding and welding.  Then more grinding.  A little more grinding.  Then a bit more grinding and some painting.  Then some digging.  Actually, Daisha did all the digging with her head.  She enlisted her boyfriend to do some digging for her and then poor Jarvis walked by at the wrong time and had to finish up.  

 These three show the stiff, steel crane resting, then loosening up and taking off and finally becoming more organic and flying.

This installation is in the main entrance to campus and will get all kinds of visual attention every single day.  And it was finished just in time for final grades to be turned in so Daisha could graduate last Saturday.   

Public sculpture is very important to me because of the huge impact it has on the general public.  Exposing people to beauty and critical thinking is such a great gift.  But I've also grown to love the impact these types of exhibits have on the artists involved.  There's a sense of duty that takes over when the students realize their work will be seen by everyone on a daily basis.  They work hard to refine their sculptures and then those proud faces come out when the installation is complete.  Even the students who try to be the most cynical and jaded can't help but let their genuine pride show when the work is done.  And on the other side of each of these photos is a teacher who cant hide his proud face either.

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