In January 2015, I had the opportunity to work with the students of Georgia Elementary School as artist-in-residence. The 2nd through to 4th graders made some incredible work and we began by studying ephemeral art around the world. Over the course of 4 days, the students prepared their materials, created their own designs and participated in a group Rangoli. We also experienced being mindful and explored some mindful doodling. Tiles created during the residency will be exhibited at the Vermont Statehouse in March for Youth Art Month.
The Integrated Arts Academy residencies culminated in a wonderful exhibition which opened on Thursday May 22nd, at the BCA Center, Burlington VT. All artworks will be exhibited for one week only. There was a formal opening, with introductions by Judy Klima, Arts Coach at the IAA and Melissa Steady, Education Director at BCA. It was a fabulous event and included the work of students in KG through to 2nd grade.
The exhibited work integrated science, social studies, math and literacy with the visual arts.
For the month of April 2014, I had the opportunity to teach two arts-integrated residencies at the IAA in Burlington, VT. Working with both 1st-grade classes (with teachers Jen Nesson and Alice Patalano,) we integrated social studies and mathematics with visual arts. Focusing on the art of India, we studied Rangoli, even visiting the Tibetan Monks at the Fleming Museum who were in residence for a week creating an intricate sand Mandala. The students were captivated. Having over 6 hours of contact time with each student was a gift–we managed to cover some significant ground–making permanent Rangoli tiles from rice and some temporary group designs.
I also had the opportunity to work with Stephanie Decarreau’s 2nd grade class. The arts-integrated focus was on mathematics and visual art and again, Rangoli proved to be a wonderful vehicle for leaning about shapes, angles, symmetry and pattern.
Choosing to make a ‘stained-glass’ wall-hanging, the students worked together to create some beautiful designs and experimented with group Rangolis. All work will be exhibited at the BCA Center–the opening will take place on Thursday May 22nd, 4-6pm.
This January I held a Rangoli workshop for the teachers of the Integrated Arts Academy in Burlington, VT for their annual retreat. We had a wonderfully productive 90 minutes, which began with a brief guided meditation to get everyone in a meditative frame of mind for creating a Rangoli. Split into smaller groups, each team completed the same basic design, but decided on their colour range and use of negative space – the results were beautiful.
On Saturday October 19th, I was invited to lead an interactive Rangoli performance at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA., to celebrate the opening of the new exhibition, Beyond Human: Artist-Animal Collaborations.Over 50 children and adults participated throughout the day to help construct the 6.5ft x 6.5ft Rangoli which was made from a mixture of dyed rice, pulses and grains and materials found in the environment.
It’s always an emotionally charged time during the last few days of Summer. I took some time to myself to make this Rangoli. Getting absorbed for a few hours was centering, while enjoying the twittering of birds, sun rays streaming through the house and the silence.
An article on my Rangoli practice written by Megan Bantle, was featured in the Burlington Free Press, VT on Sunday September 1st 2013.
An online version (with video feature) can be found below: