JPS Puts Students on Display at the GRAM

Just before Thanksgiving, Bursley Elementary School 5th graders, Pinewood Elementary 5th graders and Jenison High School Introduction to Art Students in grades 9 – 12 had the unique opportunity to show their artwork at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). On a frigid Saturday afternoon, students, their families and Jenison community members enjoyed the creativity that comes when students are inspired by educators who are inspired by art.
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Today we talk to Mrs. Moynihan about this special afternoon:
How long have you been preparing for this gallery event?
Emily Derusha and I (Lindsay Moynihan) attended a professional development day at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Spring 2012. We were so inspired by the work of artist Robert Rauschenberg and the cost effective lessons the GRAM provided that tied into his work, that we decided we would try and collaborate on a project with our students. We worked on the lesson plan over the summer and finalized everything in December of last year. The lesson itself took our students close to one month to complete. We examined the work of Robert Rauschenberg and then learned several different art techniques that students were required to incorporate into a final mixed media piece of art.
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Why is showing at a gallery important for young artists? 
We have incredibly talented visual artists in our district, but art is a quiet subject, and as a result sometimes our program gains and individual student talents and accomplishments are not visible to the public. Showing at a gallery gives our students the opportunity to “perform” in a visible and recognized way, just as marching band is seen at half time shows, our athletes at games, and theater students in musicals. This experience validates them as the accomplished artists they are now and gives them a vision of possibility for the future.
Additionally, showing at the gallery in downtown Grand Rapids builds a connection between our Jenison and Grand Rapids communities. Art is one of the incredible commonalities of all people through all times, and this is one small example of communities coming together through art. To that end, we would like to thank the Bursley Parent Club for providing funding for the embroidery hoops that were used in the printmaking process as well as the Grand Rapids Art Museum for providing this amazing opportunity for our students.
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Student Kate Koning stands next to her artwork at the GRAM.

Student Kate Koning stands next to her artwork at the GRAM.

What do you hope your students (orJPS art kids) will take away from this event?
It is our hope that all of our art students who participated in this collaborative project are walking away with an appreciation for what goes into creating a piece of art. We also hope that they were inspired by Rauschenberg and his message of conservation as well as the creativity of their collaborators. For those who participated in the show at the art museum, we hope they were as proud of their accomplishments as we were, and that they have learned a little bit about the professional aspect of being an artist and putting together a show.
Our thanks to Emily Derusha and Lindsay Moynihan for their dedication to the visual arts and for taking the time to share their thoughts about this exhibit!

2 comments on “JPS Puts Students on Display at the GRAM

  1. I’m the director of the Museum and I was really thrilled–and blessed–to walk past this collaborative project every day. We’re so pleased it was so good for the students and the teachers in Jennison, because I know people in Grand Rapids loved learning from your experiments! Keep up the creativity! Come back soon!

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