Points of Departure
Through November 2012
Philadelphia, PA (June 2012)—This summer, visitors to Philadelphia International Airport have reason to return to the baggage claim to view mini-murals created by 240 Philadelphia middle school students in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Delphi After School Art Club. Inspired by the Museum’s collections, students used the artist Paul Klee’s quote, “A line is a dot that went for a walk…” as their theme for this year’s project, Points of Departure. The six mini-murals in the exhibition are displayed at the Youth Art Gallery in Philadelphia International Airport (Terminal A-East Baggage Claim) through November, with special opening receptions in June to celebrate the student’s achievements. Points of Departure is the latest community project to emerge from the Museum’s partnership with local charter and public schools and the Delphi Project Foundation. For over 10 years, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has hosted the Delphi After School Art Club, a nineteen-week program for students in 5th through 8th grade that includes gallery tours, student art projects, conservation science demonstrations, a community service project, and student art exhibition.
“The Philadelphia public middle school students who participate in Delphi After School Art Clubs at the Art Museum remind us that middle school students have gifts to be shared with the community at large,” says Marla K. Shoemaker, the Museum’s Kathleen C. Sherrerd Senior Curator of Education. “With excellent teaching artists as their guides, and masterful works of art as their inspiration, inner city children grades 5–8 can find a new language in which to experiment with formal properties and personal expression. Our society offers too few opportunities for middle school students to take part in meaningful learning activities—activities that offer lively engagement with ideas, the development of new skills, and the opportunity to socialize friends, all in an environment of caring adults that both challenge and nurture budding talents. We at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are proud of our students, their school chaperones, their teaching artists, and our partnership with the Delphi Project Foundation, all of whom work together to produce results like these wonderful collaborative murals.”
Points of Departure consists of six mini-murals, each containing five 24 x 30” panels divided by lines at turns straight and meandering. Using paper, printmaking techniques, collage, and textile, the students created their work at the Museum under the guidance of collaborating Philadelphia artists. At Russell Byers Charter School, artists Benjamin Volta and Diane Pieri used a grid layout to alternate squares of bold color with graphic black and white drawings. Using the theme “Earth and Sky,” students at William Levering Elementary School worked with artists Doris Norgueira-Rogers and Diane Pieri to create a looping line filled in with colored paper triangles in cool blue (above to represent “sky”) and warm tones (below to represent “earth”). Figurative animal sketches can be seen in Juniata Park Academy’s “Raining Cats and Dogs”, which artists Doris Nogueira-Rogers and Diane Pieri mixed in with geometric shapes and marbleized paper stylized as raindrops. Artists Marta Sanchez and Stephane Rowley worked with students from Middle Years Alternative School to create a hand-stitched tapestry inspired by Van Gogh Up Close and a collaborative ‘zine-making project with Dan Murphy of Megawords, as well as the Museum’s permanent collection. The bold colors, lines and shapes that Thomas K. Finletter Elementary School students worked on under the guidance of Cecilia Dougherty and Roslyn Don create a surrealist composition heavily influenced by Miró, Klee, and Kandinsky. Artists Dougherty and Don also worked with students at General Louis Wagner Middle School to depict lush foliage with branches and leaves, inspired by Here and Now: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs by Ten Philadelphia Artists, as well as the Museum’s Carnival Evening, by Henri Rousseau.
“My favorite part of Art Club is that I get to try new things and be creative,” says Tahzeh Wesley of the Thomas K. Finletter School. “I got to paint and make a clay bowl and I got to go to the museum for the first time. I can’t wait to participate again next year. I feel good knowing my artwork will be at the airport because I’ve never had my artwork displayed before and now others can see what I can do.”
The Philadelphia Museum of Art will host three receptions from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Philadelphia International Airport for students, artists, teachers, families, and special guests.
- June 5: Russell Byers Charter School and General Louis Wagner Middle School
- June 6: Thomas K. Finletter Elementary School and William Levering Elementary School
- June 7: Juniata Park Academy and Middle Years Alternative School.
Support for this exhibition was provided by Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company and The Delphi Project Foundation.