Taking it to the Streets

By: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
July 29, 2013

Twenty-five children used part of their summer vacation to channel their energy into art thanks to Indiana State University's Community School of the Arts.

"Street Art! provides a fun way for students to learn about art and art history and to express creativity through hands-on experience, said Petra Nyendick , director of the Community School of the Arts. "Street Art! creates the opportunity for children to attend free quality arts programming and reap the benefits from artistic creation and expression. "

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation, Lilly Endowment and the university provided funds for the nine-week program which involved students from the 14th and Chestnut Community Center as well as Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.

"I wanted to write a grant for a community art program and I wasn't sure who to collaborate with," she said. "I visited the 14th and Chestnut Community Center and inquired if they would be interested in partnering in an arts program and they said yes. My mind immediately went to Street Art."

The urban Street Art movement started in New York in the 1980, according to Nyendick. Students learned about the pioneers of Street Art and explored how these artists transformed contemporary art and brought art to the people and to "the streets.""Typically, Street Art is used to describe distinguished contemporary public- or gallery-space artwork derived from guerilla graffiti," she added.

CSA's summer program at 14th and Chestnut encompassed a variety of activities including painting, sculpture, sticker art, street poster art, graffiti, street installation and sidewalk art.

"An important aspect of this program is to teach students how to create street art in a safe, respectful and vandal-free manner," Nyendick said.

Graffiti projects utilized rolls of paper or alternative surfaces as grounds. Sculpture sessions encouraged the use of recycled or found objects, creating awareness of the re-purposing of materials. Materials for sidewalk art were environmentally friendly and will wash away with rain after a period of time.

Indiana State alumnus Edward Holloman, who will teach art at Terre Haute North Vigo High School beginning this fall, instructed students during the nine-week session. As an art education major, he assisted in the planning and painting of public art murals at the Booker T. Washington Center and Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club.

"I am truly enjoying teaching a summer art program for youth," he said. "When I was this age, my art teacher had a friend who opened up his house to students who wanted to paint and create art. I gained a lot from that opportunity."

"This experience is about the kids cultivating their creativity and experiencing art," Holloman said.

Surrounded by a constant buzz of activity from his students fully engaged in painting using acrylics, Holloman serves as both a mentor and an educator along with two Indiana State graduate students.

"Do not just pick up the brush and paint," Holloman said. "Have a plan. Mix your colors on the wax paper. Don't forget to keep your brushes wet."

The students quickly went to work.

"I started off asking students to list an adjective that described them," Holloman, who also conducts art workshops for the Swope Summer Youth Art Program, said. "And I had three students using the same word. So I put together a list of adjectives that channel positive images and the students selected their words for the tiles."

"That exercise expanded their vocabulary as well as their mind," he added.

Dipping her brush into a color of paint resembling ISU blue, Te'lon Ward said she has enjoyed the Street Art projects.

"I like painting, working with clay and spray painting," she said, never lifting her eyes away from the paintbrush she was using to outline the letters of her word.

"I like the opportunity to do art," said Hannah Sower. "The spray painting was my favorite. When I was four I helped paint our mailbox using spray paint. This was more fun."

All the art and creativity begged to be showcased, Nyendick said, so she arranged for the students' work to be exhibited in Indiana State's Turman Art Gallery.

The ninth and final week will be filled with delivering work to the gallery, followed by the installation of the artwork by the teachers and the students, which will allow the students to learn about and experience the curatorial aspects of visual art.

The class culminates in an opening exhibition Aug. 15 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Turman Gallery. The reception and exhibition are free of charge and open to the community.

"The Turman exhibition will truly function as a community event in which people from all walks of life can feel pride in the accomplishments of promising young local artists," Nyendick added.

 

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3783 or paula.meyer@indstate.edu