Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lawrence After School Collectors Clubs

Excitement about collecting this year inspired two Lawrence fourth grade After School Collectors Clubs, organized by Mary Guerrero at the Henry K. Oliver School and Christine Jee at the Robert Frost School. These collaborating after school groups explored personal collections, art and historical collections, and Lawrence collections. What can we learn about a community based on its collections? How would you convey information to and about your community using the collecting and arranging of objects and text?

I wanted to make something.
I wanted to show it to the world.

In order to concretize these explorations and expand their vision to include community resources students, family members, and school administrators visited the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) and Lawrence Heritage State Park (LHSP).

How do the walls look different in this gallery?
It looks like a landscape!
I didn’t even notice that!
Maybe it came from an area with a lot of mountains.

At the MFA, students investigated what can be learned about the museum, its collections, and what ideas the museum is trying to communicate based on the ways in which objects and exhibitions are curated.

How do these works interact?
They’re looking at each other!

The students also met David Meehan, retired art teacher from Lawrence High School, who talked with them about the White Fund paintings, owned by Lawrence and housed at the MFA.

Downstairs is like a city, outside of the buildings.
Upstairs is inside a house, it has the loom, and it has Essex Street.

At LHSP, the students met Jim Beauchesne, interim director and interpreter, and viewed collections of objects that share information about and histories of their city. They then used these ideas to inspire photographing and collecting on walks around Essex Street and the canal.

What I learned is that getting ready for an exhibit is hard.

The students have created, curated, and installed an exhibition at LHSP detailing their explorations, ideas, connections, personal collections, and collections that speak to their ideas and knowledge about their community. On exhibit are collections from rocks to Pokemon cards, “silly bands” created from alternative materials in shapes that symbolize Lawrence, weavings that display a connection with Lawrence’s textile history, and the students’ own written and photographic documentation of their work.

Their exhibition was recognized in a recent article in the Eagle Tribune, which can be read online by clicking here.

The Collectors Club exhibition, which opened on June 9th on the 3rd floor of LHSP, will be on view through mid-August and is free and open to the public, as are the two floors of historical collections in LHSP’s exhibitions spaces.

Posted by:

Jamie Kaplowitz
Education Fellow

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