Rise & Shine Scholars created wood assemblage sculptures and hundreds of photographs this summer thanks in part to funds received from a Grassroots Grant awarded by the North Carolina Arts Council through the Transylvania Community Arts Council.
A great deal of inventiveness was evident in the titling of the artworks, with names such as "The Clustered Mustard," "Shrink Tank," "Home for Spiders," "Crusty Crab," "Sacred Monument," "Oneness of Us" and "Love Is in Every Bit" causing attendees at the exhibit to think twice about the constructions.
The Scholar/Artists were given complete freedom of approach in the actual shaping of their assemblages. Some chose to create more realistic sculptures, such as Aniya Hemphill's "Crusty Crab" which featured a sea-side snack shop. Others, like Cavan Walker's "The Clustered Mustard," were completely abstract in nature--Cavan's work was a tightly-woven upright thrusting of pieces, where Analisa Walker's "Oneness of Us" was an open construction that invited viewers into the work. "I was so impressed with the sculptures. Zack Lucas's "Tank", Mauriel's "Sacred Monument" and Mallory's "Love" ...to name a few. All were wonderful," said volunteer Carol Miller.
Before construction, local Artist Billy Smith came on campus to discuss color with the young artists, talking about the power of color choices and the history of color in cultures. He also introduced a bit of color theory, which the younger Scholars happily ignored when it came time to paint their assemblages.
The works were exhibited this summer at The Circle Factory, the art studio of local artist George Peterson, who graciously made a sawdust-free zone, lighted like a gallery, to show off the Scholars' artworks. The exhibit was very well attended, with Volunteers, Parents and other community members present for the festivities. Very glad that the exhibit happened, Rosalynd Storer said "Arts help kids to open their eyes to the world and increase their learning ability."
Besides the sculptures, Level III (middle school) Scholars displayed a selection of their photography. Studies in photography, using an assortment of higher-end digital cameras, were made possible with the work of volunteers Terry Jednaszewski and Don Lander. Both gentlemen escorted the Level III Scholars to various off-campus destinations where they could practice their craft. In addition, Terry spent the time to sort and watermark the images, and coached the Scholars on the best images to select for exhibit. The results were diverse and delightful, despite the short amount of time spent in learning the basics of aperture and shutter speed.
Board President Ella Jones was very pleased with the show. "It was an exhilarating experience. The talent was beyond my imagination. Our Scholars are great!"
The photography of the middle school Scholars really made an impact on those in attendance. Many spoke up, hoping that instruction in photography could continue. Terry Jednaszewski allowed that he would be open to repeating the project, though would probably condense the course down to a single week, rather than spending one day for 5 weeks, following the example of other special summer instructors.
Rise & Shine hopes to make the exhibit an annual event. "I was impressed by the creativity of the scholars in a variety of mediums. Many of the students were there and it was great to see their enthusiasm and pride in what they had accomplished," said Helen Freedman. Another volunteer, Paula Bennett-Paddick, said this: "What pride our Rise & Shine students showed when their photography was on display! I could see in their eyes that they were alive with good feelings about their accomplishments. Their exhibit in a local gallery? ...Pretty cool."