Hello again my dear friends and blog followers!
First things first I would like to apologize for my late post this week, I was terribly sick over the weekend and for those few days my memory was completely shot. Fortunately, I did not miss any of my residency hours before the weekend! Last week was another busy one, I spent the usual two days working at DeLaSalle and, in addition, I began my residency at Perpich Center for Arts Education. After wrapping up with the students at De on Tuesday, I headed over to Golden Valley and met with Pat Benincasa, the Chair of Visual Arts Instruction at Perpich. During our short meeting she was able to give me a tour of the visual (or "vis", as they call it) arts wing of the school, including their large gallery spaces, classrooms, and a variety of studios. I was sort of blown away by the level of professionality in their studio spaces and equipment, for a high school a lot of their resources were at or above a college level. Following the tour, Pat and I wrapped up our meeting by discussing what my role will be as an assistant in the classroom and she came up with a variety of questions that will help gauge my level of engagement and learning at the end of each day.
I returned to Perpich on Thursday to officially begin my residency, excited but still unsure of what exactly to expect. The first block of the afternoon is a 90 minute drawing class, and fortunately their critique happened to fall on the day I started so I was able to dive right in. At Perpich they begin critiques by having the artist state three key points about their work, followed by a class discussion that follows the 4 steps of critique. These steps are (1) describe, (2) analyze, (3) interpret, and (4) evaluate/judge. A majority of the pieces we were focusing on that day were from their last drawing assignment which required the students to pick a spot or object from the large still life in the studio and to blow it up, as if you were looking at it through a zoom lens. Students approached this in a variety of ways, some of their compositions being more graphic or illustrative where the original object(s) is still discernible, while others became very abstracted and began to create new forms out of the ones that they were looking at. One of the ideas that Pat emphasized with this project is the constant struggle for an artist to find source material and how, at Perpich, they aim to equip students to find inspiration and material in anything they come across and then figure out how to portray them. This idea of the intellectual process being a part of life is essential to the artist (and is definitely something I wish I would have learned in high school). Following the critique, Pat went around the room and had each of the students talk about at least one thing that they learned from the critique and can take into their own practice. I found this to be an important teaching tactic that helped the students to review what they learned and remind them of key points that they may have discovered during the critique or the art making process itself. All in all I had an extremely informative and insightful first day at Perpich and I can't wait to continue to experience all that they have to offer!
Until next week,