Art of students in the Windham Central Supervisory Union will be exhibited at Crowell Gallery at Moore Free Library in Newfane through April.
Courtesy of Suzanne Paugh
Art of students in the Windham Central Supervisory Union will be exhibited at Crowell Gallery at Moore Free Library in Newfane through April.

Student art for all the senses

At Crowell Gallery, students from the region exhibit art projects inspired by the story of a deaf woman who experiences music through vibrations

NEWFANE-The Crowell Art Gallery at Moore Free Library will present an annual exhibition of art by K–5 students from NewBrook, Townsend, Jamaica School, Dover, Wardsboro, and Marlboro schools.

The free exhibit will run until Monday, April 29.

The art teachers involved are Suzanne Paugh, from NewBrook, Townsend, and Jamaica schools; Katy Hughes, from Dover and Warsboro schools; and Jamie Schilling, from Marlboro School.

Librarian Fiona Chevalier reads them a book - this year's choice is Listen by Shannon Stocker - and they analyze what is happening throughout the story.

"It takes all of us," she says.

Listen is about the percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who is deaf and experiences music through vibrations.

Paugh says you can start to pick out a lot of interesting themes, which can easily inspire deeper thinking for the kids involved.

The exhibit consists of artwork inspired by the book teachers have chosen.

"We meet nearly every month, or every other month, to work on collaboration projects," Paugh explains.

After the book is chosen, teachers present it to the students and create projects around it, which Paugh says are "usually fairly open-ended." For this project, they focused on Glennie.

Students and teachers talk about how you can feel music, and create abstract pieces of artwork around that theme using various materials. "They're exploring materials and also thinking of the connections between what they hear and what they create," Paugh says.

Involving artists of different ages

Paugh discusses the students' different contributions to this project and how different age groups are able to participate.

Students are working on responding to music through abstract art, creating instruments focusing on the idea of vibrations and sound waves, building drums out of papier-mâché and found objects, and creating touch boards.

"One of the themes we thought about was accessibility of the arts, because the person highlighted in the book can't hear but she likes to become a perfect professional percussionist."

Students thought about how an art show would be for someone who couldn't see. "That part of the show, people wanted to touch the relief so they can experience it," Paugh says.

Paugh explained that the older students are creating rain sticks, focusing on considering how objects of different sizes can move through a space and create different sounds based on their vibrations.

The younger students are making macaracas and filling them with various objects.

Impacting younger artists

"I think it's pretty rare that youth and young artists are taken seriously and displayed in real gallery spaces...usually it's classroom art shows in the hallway on bulletin boards," Paugh says.

The older students get their work taken more seriously, she says, and are given more of a professional space for their work to be displayed in.

"I think they feel really proud to see their work hanging and seeing strangers looking at it and reacting to it and responding to it. [...] I feel very lucky that we're able to do it for our community."

Paugh has always taught elementary students. "I've always really loved the willingness to jump in with both feet that most kids have. [...] I can give them all different artistic and creative challenges, different new materials, and they're pretty much pumped for it all," Paugh explained.

"It's kind of like you explore it with them, which is really fun."

The Crowell Art Gallery is in the rear of the Moore Free Library, a nonprofit private library reliant on charitable donations, grants, and community support. The gallery is open during the library's operating hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 1 to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 1 to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This Arts item by Alyssa Grosso was written for The Commons.

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