Saturday, January 31, 2015

Group Mural- Family Literacy Center

The students with whom I have been working in Barre, Vermont, worked as a group to create this finished mural over the course of the residency.

Family Literacy Center group mural, 2015, Acrylic on board, 96"x96"
 The group chose to explore how they look for balance in their lives as young parents.

Two new lovelies in the classroom who supervised the creative process.
The design they created changed and grew over the course of the work. Initially, they set out to create something of a solar system filled with constellations formatted to become text as well as images.

A warm-hued underpainting for the work
As they began painting, they felt the importance of creating spaces in the work for everyone's unique voice and needs, and so moved toward using the grid of spaces which was naturally created by the gridding/enlargement process of the initial sketches.

This grid, with its bold mix of colors and images, quickly took on the look of a quilt.

Going with this theme, students added "stitching" all over the work, creating an image that recalls for me the idea of old-fashioned quilting bees as social events for women to talk about their lives and loves.  It was fascinating to watch these artists move toward working in the realm of Faith Ringgold and her painted story quilts.
Painted stitching on "seams"
 Students used many of the words we had brainstormed in out first session in bold directions on the board to visually unite their separate experiences into a mutual one.

Four of our artists at the January art opening.
In any classroom, among any group of students, you would find a vast expanse of confidence and comfort with the creative process.  There was no exception here, with some artists full of ideas and vision from the first day, while others sat back, more hesitant and terribly concerned that they would "ruin" the work.  However, the marvelous part of the process these artists created was essentially a self-imposed requirement to "own" at least one "quilt block."  Several artists therefore painted and repainted the same area several times to begin anew.

The block on the right, which at this time resembled clouds, changed completely four times.
In the end, their styles blend beautifully, a mix of cartoonish surfaces and fully formed volumes intended to appeal both to adult and child viewers.

Their mural will be installed in the lobby of the school building at 45 Brook Street, Barre, VT.

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