Sixth Graders Study Sculpture with Artists in Residence
CMS sixth graders learned about sculpture and public art displays when artist Beth Thielen and Omi International Arts Center Education Director Sasha Sicurella visited their art class for two days in March. The two were on hand to teach the students about sculpture, and discuss what it is like to design and display what are often very large works of art.
A professional visual artist and sculptor, Thielen worked with students to design and build their own small-scale three-dimensional sculptures. Students used a variety of materials to create their projects with, such as toothpicks, balsa wood, card paper, even candy wrappers.
Thielen brought along one of her special tools, a “virtual art gallery” she built to help her envision large-scale exhibits through the use of models. She used this miniature showroom - complete with three walls, hardwood floors and tiny figurine patrons – to allow students to see what their works would look like in a public display setting.
“The idea was to expose them to the thought and planning process that goes into developing an installation,” explained Thielen.
When students completed their sculptures, their creations were displayed in the model gallery, where Sicurella photographed each from what would be eye-level for the gallery’s tiny patrons. Within the context of a scale showroom, the sculptures gained a life-sized presence on film, and by viewing the photographs, students got a sense of what their creations would look like as large-scale works of art.
This artist-in-residence program was part of a learning partnership between CMS art teacher Nancy Barth’s sixth grade art class and the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, and was made possible through a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation.