Saint David's special partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and our second graders for a 10-week unit of art study and practice, culminated this week with the boys' exhibit at the museum.
In Look, Imagine, Create: Collages, Paintings, and Construction the boys took me, faculty, and their parents on their exciting adventures in art this fall.
First, in the museum's Thannhauser Collection gallery, the boys were our docents. They took pride in sharing what they had learned about a particular piece of artwork, be it Picasso's Lobster & Cat, Mondrian's Dunes in Zeeland, or Chagall's Flying Carriage, to name a few.
How powerful for them to be in front of the actual work itself as they discussed abstraction, use of color, and shape, and their personal reactions to it! Not only did they answer our questions, but they asked some of us as well.
More powerful still was how, through the course of the unit, the boys drew inspiration from what they learned about the different artists' techniques and approaches to create their own original works. This they also shared with us in the Guggenheim's art studio, which was transformed into an exhibit hall of the boys' creations in painting, observational and ink drawings, construction, and collage.
Their projects were all driven by motivating questions, related to the artwork that inspired them. When working on a project related to Flying Carriage they considered: "When was a time you had an adventure? How can you show it in a painting?"
The boys told us what inspired them, the techniques they used, what they found challenging and their favorite part about making the artwork.
Since September they have spent their 80-minute art sessions at the Guggenheim, studying the iconic architecture of the building as well as modern masterpieces from the Thannhauser Collection. In the museum's art studios they participated in hands-on activities under the guidance of Art Curriculum Chair Jenna Boccella, their art teachers Melanie Fidler and Hannah Frassinelli, and museum educator Hollie Ecker.
For our young boys to begin to develop a strong vocabulary about art, and to have access to experts from a museum like the Guggenheim in addition to the expertise of their Saint David's teachers, provides them with a unique opportunity to dive into their curiosity about art and realize new depths of understanding and creativity.