Spiritual Structure Nonspecific to Religion

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From 1994-1995, as a senior studio art major at Hamilton College, I tried creating a space where people of all faiths could unify in spirituality rather than in doctrine.  I had spent my junior year living in Paris and my sophomore and junior summers in Egypt. Travels in Europe and North Africa led to a great appreciation of churches, mosques, and temples.

Before 1994, I had never touched power tools, but when I decided to create an enterable building, I picked up a drill and winged it.   The most interesting part of my thesis project was the interaction with passersbys.  Everyone wanted to know what was happening and then they wanted to engage in conversations. Rather than  existing solely as a sculptural form, creating the structure and discussing spirituality in sub-Arctic upstate New York wind and snow, became a performance piece.

From students and faculty who had remained on campus over winter break, there were reports of the thunderous crash of the structure. In  retrospect, I was grateful that it met its demise before completion, so that it didn’t fall on visitors seeking peace.  By winter break, everyone had enjoyed a chance to experience the art and to voice their thoughts.

The collapse of my unifying spiritual construction marked an eerie foreshadowing of imminent world issues.

Multicultural Art Education

This is an Article in Progress….

Rye Middle School tribute to Jacob Hashimoto’s art.

Rye Middle School Seventh Grade African and Oceanic Mask Project

7th Graders with Susan Aisi and Robert Aisi, former ambassador to the UN from Papua New Guinea.

7th Grade Isolated Ambassadors for Change in West Papua (video)

Rye Middle School Kwang Young Chun Installation

Hashimoto project best

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Angles on Art Education

All middle school students should absolutely love art. Later in life, conforming to all sorts of expectations may hinder creative thinking, but 12, 13, and 14 year olds have pique access.  They’re aware of the world, they feel empowered to express opinions, they find joy in imagination, and they take pride in creative expression.  Art class is a safe zone for all points to merge.  By letting paintings trigger ideas, by discovering sculptures encourage new perspectives and by finding creative problem solving helps to overcome challenges, students’ fill their tool boxes for life. A Sharpie in hand teaches a child to see. An inspiring prompt opens worlds of wonder. Most students will not pursue professional fine art careers, but early love may trigger lifelong enthusiasm.  It may stoke interest in collecting, art may inspire travel and it may propel all sorts of discovery from outside-of-the-box visionaries.

Middle school children will continue using principles and elements of design for constructing online content, for developing personal and business personas, and for making endless daily aesthetic decisions.  Understanding art and design requires foundation skills, training, and hard work.  Nevertheless, one step inside the art room should feel like entry into an exciting parallel world, where imagination and (semi) free expression join together with materials and techniques to empower kids to thrive.

2015-2016 Students’ Picture Books

Saturday in Chelsea for Young Art Enthusiasts

Art Trips are the Best, Ever!

7th Grade – Isolated Ambassadors for Peace in West Papua

Multicultural Assignments

Teaching Awards and Honors

Making the Metropolitan Museum Kids’ Favorite Destination, Ever!

Powerful art can alter perception, challenge perspectives, inspire creativity, and trigger interaction. Kids’ early experiences often determine subsequent depth of interest.  If they leap for joy and love communicating observations, they’re hooked!

After their 2015 trip to the Metropolitan Museum, this 4 and 6 year old asked 100 times when they could go again.  You might wonder, “What makes 4 and 6 year olds enjoy museums?”  Their job, as young art critics, was to assess posteriors in several wings of the museum.  They took their jobs extremely seriously, as they discussed shape, color, size and texture….