On Friday, April 11 the YIA Gallery opened “Imagining Friendship” the culminating exhibit to three months of work at Loma Verde Elementary School as the first recipient of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund.
Over two hundred people experienced the hands on cardboard gallery. Children from 2 to 52 were crawling inside the giant boxes to view the art which explored the meaning of friendship through the lens of visual arts. Mentor Artist Suzanne Joyal helped show families where their kindergarten child’s artwork could be found. Squeals of delight could be heard as students spotted their self portrait and then added images to the 10 foot tall recreation of a classmates depiction of friendship.
People clustered around small buttons to listen to the voices of young artists talking about their creative process. Making Learning Visible books showing photos and children’s quotes during the intensive residency were also widely viewed. Mentor Artist Suzanne said, “The take away is – the more opportunity you give children to share ideas and materials the more ingrained it becomes in them. I loved seeing them grow over the course of the sessions.” One teacher commented, “Today is Friday the day Suzanne usually comes into the classroom, all the kids were asking, “Where is Ms. Suzanne? Luckily I could say, we will see her at the Art Opening tonight!”
A special presentation was made to the Rezaian family on behalf of the school site. Principal Eileen Smith remarked, “Friday evening was one of the most gratifying experiences of my year. Seeing the pride on the students’ faces as they stood in front of their artwork was a beautiful moment. Parents had an opportunity to celebrate publicly with their children and the joyful emotions in the gallery created an unforgettable experience for all in attendance. This culminating event brought our Loma Verde Community together in a celebration of art. It was also very rewarding to observe the donors and know that their generosity is making a difference. This grant brought families together and symbolized the importance of art within a community.”
Applications for next year’s Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund recipient are being accepted until May 17, 2014. For more information, click here.
Special thanks to Peter Rodgers for capturing the photographs and joy of the evening.