Jean Morman Unsworth Art Expressways Gallery
Artistic Vision / Artistic Expression: Saint Joseph Services Community Center
June 7–September 7, 2014
Saint Joseph Services Community Center
This exhibition represents a five-month collaboration between the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) and Saint Joseph Services Community Center. The center provides outreach services in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood to immigrant and inner-city families, giving them access to after-school programs, computer labs, spirituality programs, and English as a Second Language classes.
Introduction to the Program
Every Wednesday afternoon from January to June, Curator of Education Ann Meehan, Master Teacher Fran Mazur, and Intern Sheila Donoghue worked with youth ages 7 to 15 on three projects—all inspired by art they saw in person. Students recorded their thoughts and ideas in sketchbooks throughout the program. On view are the remarkable creations of these talented students.
The students began by visiting LUMA on a snowy day in January to see the Martin D’Arcy, S.J. Collection. Here they unlocked the mystery of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque works, and focused on depictions of angels and saints. They learned about iconography in paintings and sculpture—the vocabulary of images that helps people identify religious figures and understand the stories depicted. When the students returned to Saint Joseph’s, they were asked to think about someone they knew personally and admired greatly, a person who has angelic/saintly qualities. They then created portraits in acrylic paint, and included symbols that represent their subject. The students then finished the project by writing their thoughts about that person.
From February 15 to June 15, LUMA had two exhibitions of the work of Edward Gorey (American, 1925–2000). A lifelong animal lover, he often depicted creatures—both realistic and fantastic—in his black-and-white illustrations. The students came to LUMA in March, and toured the Gorey exhibitions, looking out for and sketching animals of all kinds. When the students returned to the community center, they learned how illustrations can tell stories. The students then each chose an animal and created a drawing with ink and watercolor. The short, clever, and sometimes dark stories that accompany the drawings show all the marks of Gorey.
For the third project, the students went to the Loop to see Four Seasons (1974) by Marc Chagall (French, born Belarus, 1887–1985). Located at 10 S. Dearborn Street, the mosaic is over 70 feet long and 14 feet high, and was created from thousands of colored pieces of glass and stone tiles. This iconic work of public art features birds, fish, flowers, and suns. On an unusually cold April afternoon, the students discussed Chagall’s work and how nature changes with each passing season. They then decided which element they would create in mosaic form. They drew their idea, chose tiles, laid out the design, broke tiles into small bits (the most fun part of the artistic process), adhered tiles to the wooden-base surface, and created forms through the use of color and shape. Ms. Mazur then grouted and polished each work. The project proved very popular, and many students created more than one mosaic.
This program was generously underwritten by a grant from the Kinder Morgan Foundation.