Wednesday, May 2, 2007

William Wegman talks to students about art, photography

Artist-in-Residence William Wegman meets with students from Lawrence High School

If you could spend the morning with renowned photographer, videographer, painter, and drawer William Wegman, how would you choose to pass the time? Chat about art, perhaps? Tour the exhibition, William Wegman: Funney/Strange with the artist? Or maybe photograph three extraordinary weimaraner dogs?

On Tuesday, April 24, the Addison invited art students from Lawrence High School, Lawrence, MA to do all of the above. As a part of exhibiting artist William Wegman's week-long residency and in conjunction with the retrospective of his work currently on view, the artist engaged local youth in his art and hands-on lessons in photography. Students filled an hour asking Wegman questions such as the clever, "How would you describe your sense of humor?" and the classic, "How did you DO that?!" Wegman was amiable, sincere, and enthusiastic as he patiently answered each, lending the teen artists his generous share of advice about creating art and becoming an artist. Bobbin, Penny, and Candy (three of Wegman's canine companions) listened along, occasionally joining in with a yawn or agreeable "woof."

After exploring Wegman's world of photographs, paintings, drawings, collages, and videos, the artist invited five students to assist him in his afternoon's work - photographing his three dogs in the museum and around the Phillips Academy campus. Nataly Castano, Maria Cepeda, Shawn Donnelly, Jeremy Marquz, and Yurleni Velez, all of Lawrence, volunteered as the artist's assistants for the day, helping to move equipment, operate the camera, and even pose in some of the photographs.

Throughout the week leading up to the spring opening on April 27, Wegman also met with the Phillips Academy community, talking with art classes and involving students in the photography process as well as speaking to the public during the public lecture and artist/director dialogue on Sunday, April 29. To see more images documenting Wegman's week at the Addison Gallery, visit Phillips Academy's media gallery on the school's website at

Lawrence High School's visit with William Wegman was arranged by the Addison Education Department and Lawrence High School art instructors David Meehan and John Travlos in coordination with the Elson Artist-in-Residence program which invites a contemporary artist to the museum every fall, winter, and spring to exhibit and/or create art work as well as work with students from both Phillips Academy and local public and private schools.

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