Saturday, June 25, 2011

Looky here -- you can DO this too.

It's that time of year again, time for (13) - an art exhibit and fundraiser for the art program at one of New York City's public schools, PS #126/M.A.T.  - Manhattan Academy of Technology, where both of our daughters attended middle school.  PS 126/M.A.T. is a combined elementary and middle school, grades K-8, committed to both academic rigor AND also music, art and athletics. Last year's show, which featured art created by the 6-8th grade students (the average age of whom is 13) was such a huge success that it returned this year and, I hope, will be an annual event . 

Please consider it as means of encouraging and maintaining art education in your own local schools, particularly as arts budgets are often the first to be slashed in tough economic times. Take this model and run with it. You already have the first ingredient: your kids. 

Your kids who can draw or paint or take photographs or make collages or sculpt clay or illustrate comic books. They are all you need to begin.

So -- what else do you need?

For starters, a donated space, for a few hours one evening. In NYC, we're VERY fortunate to have had the use of a proper Chelsea gallery, Lombard-Fried Projects, who graciously donated space for our school's event:

Just one evening, for a few hours. Can you find a place in a central location of your town? Use the school if you must, but better to find a local merchant who would open up their boutique/book store/gallery/antique store/yarn shop/coffee house  for a few hours one evening.

NOTE: You'll be more likely to get folks other than just the kids' parents to attend if you DON'T hold it at your school.

What's in it for the space host? They get free publicity in every mention of the event and also may draw folks into their place of business who may otherwise never visit.  

Everybody wins.

So what else do you need?

If you can find someone to donate framing -  and I'm talking standard size, buy-off-the-shelf frames, nothing custom made -  that is a huge advantage. And also shows your kids that the presentation of their work can make a big difference - presentation is everything. Give their work the respect it deserves - frame it up.

One of our event's sponsors was well-known art supplier, Blick Art Materials.

If you can't find a sponsor to donate frames, just affix the artwork to the wall with push pins, but uniformly so.  It will do...... as you can see, some of the kids' art work was framed in standard sized frames, while many other pieces were simply tacked to the wall. 

But with care and precision - it makes a world of difference.

This year, the gallery had a lot less square footage to offer the student show, so the exhibit climbed up the wall. No matter - you can do the same: Accept as much work as you can, try and give every student at least one piece in the show if they so desire.

Print out  title cards with the artist's name as well. Just like the pros.

Make it real. It's an art gallery after all........

Your school's art department head should take the lead - finding which pieces to include, encouraging every student to submit to The Show. It's exciting for the kids to share their work with someone other than their classmates or their parents.

I'm telling you, it's a taste of the real world......for better or worse!

Here's my younger daughter's contribution to the show this year -- a charcoal drawing of Twiggy:

And this piece intrigued me - an illustrated gun and what appeared to be 3D guns (there were a few too many representations of weapons for my liking this year)  ---

And so much more.........

Beautiful photography.........

A collection of mosaics... really fine ... all copies of album covers: 

My daughter  made a copy of a Strokes album cover............ 

Some fine, sensitive charcoal self portraits..........

And some very Giacometti-inspired sculpture......

And in the back room, a collection of donated artwork and gift items were put up for sale via silent auction.

I donated one of my metro card oil paintings, of course.....

It received several bids  - and the last time I checked before we left it was up to $100!

The admission fee, $20 per adult and $10 per student, included a ticket for one free drink - wine or beer for the adults, soda for the kids. Local merchants, I believe, donated the drinks in exchange for a prominent mention at the event. The beverages were served at the outdoor patio -  almost an exhibit in itself, featuring the IAC building (left) designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.

Kudos to Nicole Schorr, head of the Art Department at M.A.T. and the driving force behind this event.

I hope you're inspired to do a similar event in your community!


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad MAT ran it again as I was looking forward to it after last year's great showing.
And I'm flicking this post over to a couple of (non-American, but hey! we can do it too!) friends.
And,H, I remember Twiggy when she looked like that!

VH McKenzie said...

Thanks, Dinahmow -- it was another fun show!

Hope one takes place in your hemisphere!

Anonymous said...

some excellent work here, I like the album covers and self portraits