• Mobilizing Arts Education

    Spotlight: Kevin Reese Artist Residency

    Small image templatePhoto Courtesy of Bob Adameck

    Contact: Margaret Vanderhye, Executive Director
    (804) 225-3132, margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov

    RICHMOND, October 2, 2014 - During the week of September 8th, 300 students from Harrisonburg High School collaborated with DC based artist Kevin Reese to create and install an outdoor sculpture.  The week-long residency with an artist-in-residence is first of its kind at the Academy of Fine Arts supported in part through a VCA Artists in Education Residency Grant.   The 14-foot sculpture is mixed media of painted wood and aluminum and provided students the opportunity to work on a large scale project with a professional artist.

    Before the residency began, Academy students sent Reese drawings, photographs, and poems sharing their ideas for the sculpture.   Reese discovered three core themes throughout the students’ work:  connectedness, the human element, and the interpretative “streak”.  Freshman Natalie Pittington, 14 wrote to Reese about being a Blue Streak, building upon the school’s mascot.  When Reese arrived, students challenged his figural representations and the real collaboration began for students to take ownership of the design.   “I appreciate the opportunity to kick around ideas, and defend my ideas,” Reese said.  “I am a collaborative artist.”  Students proposed new ideas for the figures which provided an authentic creative problem solving opportunity to work with limited resources and time.

    Academy art teacher Jauan Brooks Brooks initiated the project three years ago after meeting Reese at the National Art Educator’s Association conference in Baltimore, Maryland.  The positive impact and enthusiasm for this artist residency has J.R. Snow, fine arts coordinator for Harrisonburg City Public Schools contemplating future residency experiences.  Snow stated that the sculpture’s location was selected for its campus wide visibility with the hope of creating a sculpture garden.   This is Reese’s 139th installation and 28th school sculpture.

    The Commission’s Arts in Education Grants provide Virginia’s students and teachers the opportunity to work with professional artist either in a school-setting or through after-school or summer programs.  These grants support educational programs in the arts that enhance arts instruction in the school curriculum.  Applicants may request a maximum of $10,000 and must provide a one-to-one cash match of the requested grant.  Arts in Education grant applications are available January 2015 and the deadline is April 1, 2015.  

    For more information online visit http://www.arts.virginia.gov/grants_education.html or contact Casey Polczynski, Arts in Education Coordinator casey.polczynski@vca.virginia.gov

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