The Grammar School welcomed two visiting artists in residence in November. Sculptor Andrea Stix Wasserman and muralist Terry Sylvester were funded by a grant from the Clowes Fund.
Wasserman spent two days at The Grammar School working with kindergarten and first graders to create personal sculptures in the outdoors. TGS art teacher William Chambers remarked, "The kids were so enthusiastic and excited about working with her. Her focus was on nature and the value of place, and the children were thrilled to choose their own settings and make their sculptures."
First grade teacher Ginny Bianco noted that each child made a permanent display as well as an item to take home. Students described the process of making wind chimes from recycled copper and brass pipes, and glass beads "to make the music. If you heard all of the wind chimes together it would be like a whole orchestra!"
Every child participated in the entire process, from threading the chimes together to hammering them into the ground for the permanent installation. The students also were excited by an individual activity where they made gnomes of felt that they "put in little nests" in handmade boxes filled with moss acorns, pinecones, leaves, and rocks. Bianco said, "Wasserman was wonderful with the kids and dedicated to making sure that everyone had a good experience."
Muralist Terry Sylvester worked with all students at the school to create four 4 ft. by 8 ft. panels that will be displayed on campus when completed. Second graders described the mural project as "the whole school mural, with a painting for each season."
Children explained how they chose colors that "showed up well and moved out, like 3-D," and how the mural had words integrated into the design of each panel, spelling out "Welcome to TGS!" Overriding themes included in the paintings are sun, space, river, flowers, animals, and birds.
Art teacher William Chambers commented that the most impressive part of the project was that each student thought of an idea for the overall plan, and Sylvester helped make all those ideas into a final cohesive design.
Every student from kindergarten through 8th grade was engaged throughout the process. Eighth graders commented that "it was really nice that we got the opportunity to combine all of the different skill levels of the Grammar School students to create a community art project," and how amazing it was to have the chance to work with a professional muralist.