WSHS students 'Draw On!' to create art together
From left: sophomore Cameron Vivenzio, freshman Alysa Cassidy and senior Steven Bishop work on assigned portions of the Utagawa Hiroshige works for the Art One classes' Draw On! project.Reminder Publications photo by Debbie Gardner
WEST SPRINGFIELD It took a little while to warm up to the idea, but when the 90 West Springfield High School (WSHS) Art One students in seventh period caught on to what the project was about, just about everyone dove in and started drawing.
Their task to each reproduce a small piece of a larger work by the 18th Century Japanese ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige on a white square of paper. When completed, the squares were to be assembled to create mural-size copies of two of Hiroshige's most spring-themed works.
These artists were among 246 other Art One students who participated in the community drawing project last Tuesday as part of the school's Draw On! celebration, an event which began on March 26 and will run through April 9.
Brought to WSHS by Fine Arts Instructor Rachel Lepine, the Draw On! project is part of an annual celebration of the visual arts initiated by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn. Founded through the museum's high school art lab in 2006, Draw On! seeks to "unite people of all ages through something as simple as drawing."
Since 2006, Draw On! events have taken place annually at museums, libraries, schools and senior centers throughout Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In 2010, a total of 114 organizations participated in the weeklong celebration of drawing.
"My son's school [in Northampton] did a collage project [with Draw On!] last year and I went online to check it out," Lepine said. "I thought it would be a good idea because we had so many kids taking art."
"Some of the kids [this morning] really enjoyed [the Hiroshige] project and want to do it again," she said.
"I like the way it brings all of the art classes together," said senior Steven Bishop as he worked on his square.
"It's interesting," said junior Elizabeth Hurlburt of the project. "I was a bit annoyed at first, but I'm warming up to it."
Taylor said she was thrilled with the students' enthusiasm for the project.
"This is such a pleasant surprise for us and for the kids. They're working well together and that goes to the basis of the [Draw On!] project," she said.
Lepine said the finished pictures would be on display at WSHS annual Art Show, scheduled for May 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the school's large cafeteria.