Jan 11, 2012 Walt Shepperd Uncategorized
The table is set.
At the head a pan pizza, red sauce and yellow cheese blending to orange garnished with onions, pepperoni and black olives. A hot dog and sub separate a birthday cake from its accompanying present. A paper plate wrapping a three scoop banana split notes, “I want to go to Friendly’s,” with a smiley face and brushes against a ripe pitted watermelon. A strawberry frosted donut with sprinkles seems to be keeping its distance from a white powdered cousin. Strawberries, one at brief glance looking more like a rose, sit uneasily atop two chocolate cupcakes.
A quick glance will whet your appetite if you’re passing by the storefront window focused on destination or purpose. A second glance, however, will raise question of texture. Stop and stare and the rubber band around the sub is a dead give away, with the purple cardboard slices giving pause for reflection. Then the sign indicating these are sculptures produced by eighth grade students at Frazer School. Actually the rubber band was removed for the storefront window display.
Inspired by Oldenburg
A paragraph in the window at 327 Montgomery St. explains the exhibit. “Inspired by the living artist Claes Oldenburg,” Ms. Curle the art teacher notes, “middle school students created these plaster sculptures. With the idea of creating their favorite foods, the students first made an armature using aluminum foil, cardboard and oak tag paper. They then applied strips of plaster over the armatures and finished by painting the food.”
Credit cards in the display indicate a refreshing multi-cultural mix of sculpters — Quynh Nhu Le and Jennifer Nguyen did the birthday cake, Tariq Miller the sub, Ephrain Cruz and Jessie Chen the pizza, November Keene the donuts, Renisha McDonald the present, Quoc Phan the watermelon, Lillian Truong the cup cakes, Kireese Russell the hot dog and Tylnogy Jones the ice cream — but the standard American treat genres reflect how quickly food can acculturate youth.
It’s all Outlier
The sculpture display is the second in a monthly rotating storefront window gallery of youth art. Last month exhibited works by seventh and eighth graders from H.W. Smith School. The idea was hatched from a discussion at the Media Unit conference table with Taino Palermo, founder and director of Outliers C & SO, an arts based education organization, brainstorming possible opportunities for local teen artists which would not require funding, sources of which, for the arts, are quickly drying up.
Working with Say Yes programs through the YWCA, Palermo is in active touch with city school art classes. The inclusion of WOLF’s Gina Fortino as window designer and publicist and designer Karin Kemp turned BoFA into a working reality. A sticker in the storefront window explains, “BoFA Gallery at the Media Unit. Syracuse teenage artists providing the city with a breath of fresh air.”
An opening reception packed the Media Unit studio with the young artists, parents, a very proud principal and art community activists. And the idea has quickly spread. A display of preliminary sketches and final portraits of orphans from around the world by students at Wellwood School, originally scheduled for February, has been picked up for exhibit at the Red House. Juan Cruz and Fanny Villarreal are collecting work from Latina/o teens and REACH CNY will fill the window with winners of a poster contest for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month in May.
Samples of the work will soon be seen on Centro’s Connective Corridor bus, and can be viewed on Facebook.com/BOFAGallery and BOFAGallery@iamanoutlier.org. For information on exhibiting, call 478-8648.