SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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O n my first visit to Storm King Art Center in New York State, I was enchanted by Maya Lin's Wave Field (2009), an expansive field of undulating grassy earth, imitat - ing the waves of the sea. Visitors can e xperience the piece from a distance or climb to the tops of the ten- to fifteen- foot waves that stretch for eleven acres. It's an immersive landscape that's both calming and surprising. Virtual Tour I t ook my after-school students on a virtual tour of Wave Field through a E A R L Y C H I L D H O O D Sue Liedke slideshow on our projector and asked them questions about what they saw: "What kind of place do you think this is?" "Who would make art like this, and who is it for?" "What tools and materials did the artist use?" For my very urban students, the idea of a giant, explorable artwork is hard to imagine and exciting to contemplate. We talked about the local gravel, soil, and grasses the artist used to create her evolving earthwork, and what kind of tools and equipment were used to move and shape the waves. (An artist using a bulldozer as a tool is especially enticing.) Whenever we look at public art, I remind students that "art is for everybody!" In this case, it's for the people who get the chance to experi - ence it in person, and it's also for us, i n the studio. Moving to Modeling I asked students to imagine they were the designers of a large out- door space, and could control the s hape of the ground. What kinds of patterns would be fun to incor- porate into your landscape? As our d iscussion took shape, each student got a small container of nontoxic modeling clay. I chose this medium instead of a harder clay because it's easy to manipulate and ever chang - ing, which I thought would speak t o the evolving nature of Maya Lin's Wave Field. I also find that it's a good transitional material for my students with tactile sensitivity; the dough isn't sticky or wet, and doesn't easily stick to fingers. EARTHWORKS in MINIATURE Waterslide Waterfall. 30 MAY 2019 SchoolArts

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