Art: Not a Solo Project

27.03.2013     PGCS   No comments

Art: Not a Solo Project.
Every other Friday at P.G. Chambers School, 14 talented middle school students, are finding their artistic voice, communicating their thoughts and feelings, and developing a strong bond with seven talented artists from Solo(s) Project House, a unique working art gallery, in Newark, NJ.
This project is the first of its kind for P.G. Chambers School, bringing professional artists to the school to implement a middle school visual arts curriculum. Each of the artists has paired with two students. As exciting as the art itself, are the relationships that have developed between artists and students. The results tell the story of developing artistic skills and exploring how the artists’ techniques and medium affects each of the students.


The projects have spanned artistic mediums such as murals, photography, clay forming, painting and poetry, and collages. The students are also learning about texture, layering, light and shadows, tinting, and colors. The mediums are as varied as the artists: Anthony Alvarez has been working with Christian and Patrick on photography, using different lighting and angles to transform a photo into a piece of art. Hannah Craft has been working with Henry and Kevin on clay molding projects, exploring different textures and impressions that can be made using tools and found objects. Daniel Patrick Helmstetter has been working with Raffi and Olivia on poetry and painting, incorporating the students’ words into the artwork. David D. Oquendo’s 18’ mural encouraged Summer and Justin to create their favorite characters and to take what can seem like small ideas and paint them larger than life.

Darren McManus, while working with Derek and Elise, achieved a multi-layered approach to making art by introducing a new technique and medium in each session. Nicole Helen Brunner explored society and the perception of physical beauty and labels with students Sarah and Danielle. Rebecca Jampol addressed the basic elements of design in order to teach Owen and L.J. about form, color, and type.


“Working with professional artists”, comments Heather Gilliland, Assistant Principal, ‘has been enriching in so many ways for our students. In addition to learning about how texture, layers, light and shadows, tinting, and colors are used in creating a piece of art, they are also learning from individuals who are not special education teachers and therapists. This challenges the students’ abilities to understand, communicate, and relate to someone outside of their usual environment, and they are doing a great job.”
The project was initiated, when Rebecca Jampol, Director, Solo(s) House was introduced to PGCS through Ryan Ahern, MS OTR. Working with the director of development, Andrea Quigley, art teacher, Marcie Schembre, classroom teachers Erin Natoli and Linda Cook, and the school’s assistant principal, Heather Gilliland, the group of artists have been on site twice each month since October 2012.


The project culminated with “(IM)POSSIBILITIES” a multiple venue exhibit that opened at Solo(s) Project House in Newark on March 16th. This was a great opportunity for the students and artists to present their work to family, friends, and members of the art community. The exhibit will travel to P.G. Chambers School for an opening reception on April 16th. The show is free and open to the public. The project has been made possible through funding from Suzan Gordon, a long-time friend of P.G. Chambers School.



For more details on the gallery and the PGCS exhibition, visit www.solosprojecthouse.com

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