About the Exhibition
Art education is a multi-sensory experience. A process in which a melding of ideas, feelings, expressions, creativity, communication, and critical thinking takes place. Simply put, art is a way of knowing, and the creation of art a putting forth of that knowing – at times for others, at times for self. Exposure to art, both as a process and product, has long been hailed as valuable to the human experience, and while the expression of that value has fluctuated over time, there is little doubt access to art both in and as education remains critical to human development.
There is a circular flow to the artistic process which lends itself well to the concept of teaching and learning. Envisioning, creating, responding, and reflecting are all facets of art-making relevant to the overall manner by which we as human beings observe, make-meaning, and learn. Though the process evolves as we age, becoming influenced by our own experiences, preferences, and styles, our ability to learn and demonstrate learning through expression remains fundamentally core throughout our lifetime.
Featured in this exhibition are three groups of learners experiencing art education at different stages of life: Artist Educators from across the Cape, 8th – 12th grade students from Monomoy High School, and the 5th grade class of Orleans Elementary School. Inclusion of these groups within the exhibition not only highlights the continuity of the artistic process across ages, but reiterates that learners of all beginning, backgrounds, and experiences hold the capacity to envision, create, respond and reflect.
Collage, as both a process and product, is a bringing together of ideas, materials, and intentions into a single composition. The composition reveals a connectivity between disparate elements, be they material or conceptual, as discovered, felt, and imagined by the artist. Like art education, collage can be multi-sensory, melding together thoughts, feelings, and materials into a form of communication – a form of constructed meaning.
Collage can also be highly accessible, reminding us of the possibilities found in the materials of the everyday. Art education, at its core, is both singular and ongoing, simple and complex, elevated and grounded, process and product. It is an experience, field, practice, study and job that brings the disparate parts of everyday experience into a point of meaningful focus. Like engagement with collage, engagement with art education can result in a connectivity made on behalf of the viewer and the artist, the other and the self.
THE LENORE ROSS CURATING PROGRAM
Here at PAAM, we believe firmly in the inherent value of art education for humans at all stages of development, and actively work to promote and facilitate art experiences for a wide array of learners. The Lenore Ross Student and Educator Curating Program is a multidisciplinary arts integration program, in which learners of all ages engage with works of art chosen from PAAM’s Permanent Collection, and create original work in and as response. Utilizing PAAM collection artwork as a focal point for broader academic and artistic exploration, the Program allows individuals to generate deeper understanding of a topic, creatively engage in their own learning process, and demonstrate their comprehension in artistic form.
All three groups of artists exhibited participated in The Lenore Ross Curating Program within the 2019-2020 academic year.
Over the course of a weekend in January, local artist educators came together in a professional development workshop to collaboratively explore the hybrid nature of their work. Examining the circular impact of their artistry on their teaching practice and vice versa, participants were prompted to consider how the many disparate parts of their work as artists and educators came together to create a cohesive whole. What elements of their artistry were most visible and impactful in their teaching? How did the daily grind of their teaching influence their capacity to create art?
Perhaps not surprisingly, many artist educators often struggle to find the time and space needed or desired to cultivate their identity as artists. Though surrounded by art and the artistic process on a daily level, the weight and responsibility of teaching and life leaves little room for artist educators to actively pursue their own creative practice. Despite this challenge, artist educators bring invaluable amounts of creative drive to their teaching practice, gaining inspiration and illumination in return.
MONOMOY HIGH SCHOOL
On Friday, December 13th a group of art students from Monomoy High School visited PAAM. Ranging from 8th to 12th grade, the students were all participants in an art class led by Bernadette Waystack. After visiting the Museum, sharing their knowledge of Provincetown as an Art Colony, crafting collaborative poems, and sketching responses to pieces they resonated with, students moved upstairs to participate in a paper-cutting workshop with local artist Heather Blume.
Collages from the permanent collection, including those by artists Fritz Bultman and Peter Busa, were used as points of reference and inspiration for the workshop. Students were supplied with colored paper and instructed to simply go for it – creating paper collage in response to their experience at PAAM.
ORLEANS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
On January 22nd, the Orleans Elementary School 5th grade class visited PAAM. Together they explored the galleries and current exhibitions, responding in writing to each gallery with their first instincts and reactions.
After a period of free exploration and sketching, students convened in the Recent Gifts from the David Murphy Collection exhibition to view collages and discuss their relevance to the concept of a museum at large. Students considered how a museum, like a collage, is a mixing and melding of different artists, ideas, and forms. In response to their visit, students worked collaboratively to create collages representing their shared and individual experiences at PAAM.