Class 6: Questions for Personal Connection and Music Match-Up

The Teen Docents used the activities today as an opportunity to practice public speaking. They were given “Questions for Personal Connection” that asked them to find a work of art that reminded them of their family or of themselves, that had them identify an object they wanted to know more about or gave them pause, and present to the rest of the students about what they chose and why.

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The students did an amazing job selecting the quilts and quilt-based artwork that best answered their question and practiced making eye-contact, projecting their voices, and using positive body-language to engage their audience.

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Next, the students were challenged to match an art object in the galleries with a song they were randomly assigned. They paired off and listened to mid-20th century country-folk songs, contemporary punk songs, girl-group pop, dancehall and more before heading out into the museum to find their matches. Their choices were surprising, creative and insightful.

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Would you have paired “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes with Quilt for a Dentist by Luke Haynes?  After hearing Laddy, Walid and Lia discuss the pairing–the offering of the crown is akin to proposing to someone with a ring–you’d be convinced!

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Stephen Sollins, one of the artists in AFAM’s current exhibition, alt_quilts, visited class today for an artist talk!

Photo by Christine Wise, New York (fotobetty.com)

Photo by Christine Wise, New York.                       (www.fotobetty.com)

He began by showing students examples of three of his past projects, all of which dealt, in some way, with questions like:

  • How much should an artist tell versus hold back?
  • Can things be alive?
Photo by Christine Wise, New York (photobetty.com)

Photo by Christine Wise, New York.
(www.fotobetty.com)

He spoke about his interest in the presence of people where there are no people and how things don’t mean anything to him unless they come from life. All of the materials he uses for his artwork–newspaper obituaries, cross-stitched table cloth, mailing envelopes–already exist in the world and have a meaning.

Photo by Christine Wise, New York. (www.fotobetty.com)

Photo by Christine Wise, New York.
(www.fotobetty.com)

In response to the students’ questions regarding some of his monochromatic quilts, Stephen described his interest in 20th century artists like Robert Ryman, who made a career of making paintings in all one color.

The students asked lots of wonderful questions, ranging from specific and technical–Walid wanted to know if the pieces of a certain work of art were all mathematically equal (they weren’t)–to more personal–Scarlett wanted to know how Stephen feels when people interpret his art in ways he didn’t intend.

Photo by Christine Wise, New York. (www.fotobetty.com)

Photo by Christine Wise, New York.
(www.fotobetty.com)

He left everybody with a lot to think about!

Class 4: Art-Making

Today, the students identified seven different traditional quilt patterns in the gallery and sketched them.

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

Using those patterns as a point of inspiration, they then transformed assorted art materials into their own quilt-inspired collages. Some students were rigorous about trying to recreate a specific pattern while others incorporated ideas from various sources into their work.

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

Photo by Elena Bernstein, New York

The class flew by, leaving everyone with great starts but few with finished artworks, serving as a reminder of how labor-intensive quilt-making can be.