Archive for November, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Lowcountry

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I get to relax, spend time with family, watch football, and eat until I can’t eat anymore. I may be small, but trust me, I can put away some food. Even as I overindulge at the dinner table, I always try to keep in mind the real purpose of the holiday: to reflect and give thanks.

Living in the Lowcountry, I have little trouble finding reasons to give thanks. All I have to do is look out the window. The Lowcountry landscape is beautiful, inspiring, and ever-changing. It is no wonder that artists flock to the region. And the Gibbes collection is full of artwork that attests to the beauty of our surroundings. In honor of Thanksgiving, I have selected a few of my favorite Lowcountry scenes from the museum collection—a visual feast as you prepare for your family’s feast. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibitions, Gibbes Museum of Art

Color in Art Sparks Color in Verse

This post is the third in a series about the Poets in Schools writing program at Burke High School. Each semester, Burke High School students visit the Gibbes as part of this program. Last fall, the group found a symphony of colors to inspire their poetry in the exhibition “Brian Rutenberg: Tidesong.”

For color poems we use an abstract and ask the students what the colors mean to them. Is doesn’t have to correlate to anything—the color red can make you think of a green bicycle, or the color blue might make you think of the time you hit a home run in little league (in a Red Sox uniform). I ask them to not be afraid to get carried away: give the colors actions, characteristics, smells, fears, problems.

For inspiration I like to share color poems that I’ve written, or even better, those written by previous students—hearing peers break through the “color barrier” and find strange, unique associations can be helpful. I also like to share some lines from “Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix:

Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour/Queen Jealousy, envy waits behind him/Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

—Jonathan Sanchez, guest blogger and director of Poets in Schools at Burke High School

Pavilion, 2008 - 2009, by Brian Rutenberg

The following color poems were inspired by Pavilion, 2008 – 09, by Brian Rutenberg (American, b. 1965), oil on linen, courtesy of Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, NC.

Black is like the staircase I take to the psych ward.
Grey is like my heart that’s been ripped out and put back in.
Purple is like the cover I used to slip into my dreams.
Orange is the color my hair will be in two weeks.
Black is the color I love the most.
Blue makes me feel sick.
Is white even a color?
I feel that brown is the color of my skin and not black.
Peach isn’t the color of a peach.
—Khaliyah Stroud, 9th grader, Charity Scruggs’ class

The dark side makes me feel sad for Derrion Albert, beat to death in Chicago.
The middle colors make me go back in time to Easter Sunday;
My little Briana and Alexis, they were so cute in colorful polka dots.
The blue, purple, and green makes me want to
Swim away forever and drown in a sea of my own self-love.
I feel it, no, I feel you. I feel him.
Let me live beyond the beautiful yellowish orange that makes me
Feel the heat and violence of Sierra Leone, Africa.
Pink, a baby girl with a heart problem was just born, her mother has breast cancer.
Dark green makes me smell the sewer that Chris Tucker
and Jackie Chan went down in Rush Hour 3.
Red just made me laugh.
Purple is my best friend Jessika;
Raven is stuck in the middle mixed with all colors and emotions.
—O’Kellia Corbin, 9th grader, Charity Scruggs’ class

Read the previous entry by Jonathan Sanchez about his work with the program; and one student’s story inspired by Robert Henri’s painting, The Green Fan.

Art to Go Lands at Mt. Zion Elementary

The Gibbes Museum provides in-school art education through a program called Art to Go. We send teaching artists into the classroom to work on hands-on art projects inspired by the Gibbes Collection. This week, I took a trip to Mt. Zion Elementary School to visit artist Julie Weinberger and the first and second graders enrolled at the school.

This is the second year the Gibbes has brought Art to Go to Mt. Zion Elementary. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Ms. Weinberger works with the students in order to enrich their art education experience. During my visit, the first graders had a lesson on Leo Twiggs—a contemporary artist who paints using an innovative batik technique—and were busy creating simplified batik projects. The Second graders learned about Romare Bearden—best known for his richly textured collages—and were creating their own collaged artworks using the first letter of their first name.

In addition to viewing images from the collection in their classroom, the Art to Go program at Mt. Zion Elementary will bring the students to the museum to see the works by these artists (and more) in person! It is always a pleasure to observe the students at work in their own environment. Then, when I get to see them at the museum viewing the works they have studied it is even more enjoyable.

—Rebecca Sailor, Associate Curator of Education, Gibbes Museum of Art

Learn more about programs for K-12 students at the Gibbes.

A Girl Named Sally

This post is the second in a series about the Poets in Schools writing program at Burke High School. Read the previous entry by Jonathan Sanchez about his work with the program.

Below is a story written by a Burke High School student last fall, inspired by a painting at the Gibbes.

We ask the students to use their five senses and to always be specific. As former South Carolina poet laureate Archibald Rutledge once said: “A Cherokee rose, not just a rose. A swallowtail butterfly, not just a butterfly…Always the details.”

We also encourage weirdness. Good writing is often a little twisted. Nobody wants to read a novel about a Captain obsessed with a run-of-the-mill black whale.

—Jonathan Sanchez, guest blogger and director of Poets in Schools at Burke High School

The Green Fan (Girl of Toledo, Spain), 1912, by Robert Henri

Inspired by The Green Fan (Girl of Toledo, Spain) by Robert Henri.

Sally lives on King Street. It is hot and windy and she is mad. Her mom and dad are doctors. Sally is a model. Her dad is in New York and her mother is in Atlanta with her new husband.

She is also a nurse and right before this moment, she was running down the street from the police because she was protesting in front of Piggly Wiggly due to their high prices on milk.

In the background, there are cameras flashing, whispering, and the constant sounds of printers and chatter. The only thing she wants now is to be released from jail so she can go back home and watch “Phineas and Ferb.” Plus, the police station smells like mildew, bleach, and coffee.

In her left hand, there is a pack of blue Kool-Aid and a bus ticket. She looks frightened and tired because she was running, but now she is surrounded by police and they are about to take her Kool-Aid.

—Raven Ware, 9th grader, AP Academy, Charity Scruggs’ class