By Tracy Mintz, Visual Arts Teacher
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” —Pablo Picasso
Fall is here and Forest Ridge student artists are enjoying their time back in the art studios. They are busy learning how to use the pottery wheel to make beautiful and functional clay artwork; painting and drawing fall pumpkins and still life scenes; and learning how to use linoleum block printmaking techniques to illustrate some of their favorite book passages and song lyrics. Students are engaged and thoughtful, and these creative endeavors will soon be visible in art displays around campus.
Art students are also spending time in the new “art lounge” space that is providing a wonderful still (or sometimes energetic and noisy) space for students to gather and create. Some are meeting there to study, eat lunch, or just spend 15 quiet minutes painting a summer scene they photographed while on vacation.
In addition to our student artwork, you will also see new paintings hanging in classrooms, teaching spaces, staff offices and common areas. The artwork was created this summer by our faculty and staff as a community-building art project. The paintings were worked on as community paintings, with each staff member painting on each other’s canvases, then completing their artwork and finally adding a word of inspiration or affirmation that they would like to see embodied in this 2019-2020 school year. Words like Hope, Courage, Persist, Believe, Love, Curiosity, Faith, Magic and more adorn the brightly colored paintings that were made by the hands of many. Each painting has a unique voice, yet staff members worked together to create them.
Many of our staff members began the process with the same words our students sometimes voice; statements like, “I am not an artist” or “This is not my comfort zone.” As staff members washed out their paintbrushes after the activity or attached their chosen word to their brightly covered canvas, the realization that they had created a work of art that was filled with joy and self-expression brought smiles to faces, and sounds of admiration and excitement as the artwork was shared with one another.
Taking the time to slow down, play, envision, express, engage and persist, just as our student artists do while they are creating, really did help our staff “wash away some of the dust of everyday life.”
- Forest Ridge Blog