SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 2018

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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22 MAY 2018 SchoolArts M U S E U M M U S I N G S Earth. Some students asked me what "komorebi" means, and I explained that it is a Japanese word that roughly translates as "sunlight shining through the leaves of trees." Discussing Life and Art Next, we sat down to form a circle at the center of the art gallery. I asked students questions about their own life experiences as well as the art - works they were viewing to make real-life connections to visual art, the natural sciences, and everyday life. Since Columbus, Mississippi, is only a few hours away from Memphis, Ten - nessee, some of the students would be familiar with the mussel shells used in certain sculptures. Studio Component After our discussion, we went upstairs to one of the art studios. I was hoping F ifth-grade students from Annunciation Catholic School in Columbus, Mississippi, recently visited the Eugenia Summer Gallery at the Mississippi University for Women. These students came to see the sculptures of Wayne Edge of Memphis, Tennessee, on view in his solo art show, Heaven from Earth. Edge breathes new life into material that is often considered scrap. His work is made mostly of found objects from nature, such as fresh- water shells, glass, stones, and driftwood. He binds thin wooden sticks together with these objects and transforms them into dynamic sculp- tural works. As the university art edu- cator, I help teachers organize art gallery trips. During the planning stage, I explained to teacher Lacey Pressgrove that the artwork on display would be ideal for her students. I suggested that her students could do a related art project inspired by natural found objects. In the Gallery Lacey, her students, and a few par- ents arrived to view the artwork in the gallery. Everyone took their time responding, both emotionally and intellectually, to the freestanding sculpture and the pieces that hung on the walls. Wayne Edge integrates the themes of nature, art, and Eastern philosophy in a seamless manner. Students read the labels with titles describing the artwork in a philosophical way, such as Komorebi, Order Chaos to Smile, and One Zen, as well as more literal titles such as Blackbirds Diving through Gnats, Greener on the Other Side, Swept Away, and Heaven from Nature's Inspiration Gillian J. Furniss students would be inspired by the natural materials and visual concepts of the every - day wonder, mystery, and beauty of nature. I gave them an assortment of objects to glue to the surface of white Bristol paper. I provided materials such as colored glass mosaic squares, pat - terned paper, green yarn, scis- sors, craft sticks, and colored pencils. I also included natu - ral materials, such as small shells and pine needles. I left the execution of the art activity very open-ended, allowing students to choose whatever objects they wanted to use and in whatever arrangement they preferred for their final compositions. A few students created 3D sculptures on their paper. Many students spent time sharing materials and dis - cussing ideas with each other during the art process. Later, we went outside and I took a photograph of students with their artwork. It had been a day of creativity and friendship, and I invited them back for another visit to the gallery. Gillian J. Furniss, Ed.D. is assistant professor of art education in the Art and Design Department at Mississippi Univer- sity for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. gjfurniss@ W E B L I N K S I was hoping students would be inspired b the natural materials and visual concepts of the ever da onder, m ster , and beaut f nature.

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