Student Art Lives up To Its Name: It INSPIRES


Front Page / Apr. 4, 2013 10:27am EDT

By Bob Eddy

Inspired by dragons. RES third and fourth grades Inspired by dragons. RES third and fourth grades There is still time to take in Chandler Gallery’s annual show of works by area student artists. It comes down this weekend, however, so you’d better be quick.

Your effort will be rewarded, for this is a thrilling exhibit. A collaboration of arts educators in many area schools and their students, the installation is a powerful testament to the significance and power of art.

Pablo Picasso once admitted, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Picasso’s words rang in my ears as I surveyed this magnificent collection. In so many instances, the raw feeling and energy of the children’s works take one straight to the heart of the matter. Pieces are created without concern for what a viewer will think. Many whisper as you walk past, and hearing the voices of the children here, you stand in the presence of something very powerful.

In museums all over the world one sees people spending more time with the small plaques denoting the artists than in viewing the works themselves. This behavior, perhaps driven by the desire to be “in the know,” isn’t found at exhibitions where the average age of the artists is 10. These works speak for themselves. Many, many individual pieces thrill the viewer, but it’s the massing of all these voices together that creates a powerful chorus. The show is entitled “INSPIRED,” with each school and student responding to the open ended prompt of work that was “Inspired by…” in diverse and creative ways. Many works are inspired by influential artists or art movements, others by different world cultures.

Aboriginal Inspiration

Among the works which speak to me here in this creative space are pieces inspired by Australian Aboriginal art by students of Candy VandeGreik in Braintree, Roxbury ,and Sharon. A trip to the Hood Museum in Hanover gave these young people an immediate experience of this strange and wonderful art; their own creations show that deep connections were made.

Inspired by color, RUHS advanced students of Craig Wiltse have created paintings on glass, displayed to great effect with natural window light illumination. Martha Blaisdale’s sixth grade students in Brookfield have “peopled” this space with robots “upcycled” from found materials. Legions of dragons and penguins lead the way into imagination and revery. Flags inspired by Picasso’s Dove of Peace uplift the eye and the heart.

The Cry of Nature

In the late 19th century, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch created an image popularly known as “The Scream.” There were four versions of this iconic work by Munch, and over a century, they have deeply moved viewers throughout the world—described as “a Mona Lisa for our time” by Arthur Lubow in Smithsonian Magazine.

With teacher Rebbie Carlton, Randolph Elementary School fifth and sixth graders created sculptures inspired by Munch’s vision. Until viewing their works, I never knew the full import of Munch’s creation, which was named by the artist, “Der Schrei der Natur” (The Scream of Nature).

Of his work, Munch wrote in 1892, “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord––the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.”

Inspired by Munch’s art and writings, the students have continued the conversation online. At (Randolph Elementary Schools) you’ll find an example: “I think that nature is screaming about car exhaust and air pollution. Whenever we start a car or build a bon fire, we are polluting the air. The process of making the screams helped me understand that nature screams about a lot of stuff.

“I liked this project because we got to understand what Munch had experienced so long ago. This work surprised me because I never thought that a lot of people working together could make a cool piece of installation art. I enjoyed making mini scream figures.”


before it closes this weekend. Here are your options: Friday, 3-5 p.m.; Saturday, noon-2 p.m.; in conjunction with Chandler’s Friday and Saturday performances, Sky Blue Boys (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) and Tom Rush (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)

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