By the P.S. ARTS Programs Team
“The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through vast forests, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”
Each year, our P.S. ARTS Teaching Artists and programs staff set out to create a unifying theme that guides their curriculum throughout the course of the school year. After much thoughtful consideration, we are proud to reveal this year’s theme is The Light of Discovery. Our programs theme encourages our students to start curious and stay curious about the idea of finding their own “light” of discovery. With this theme, we want to challenge our students not only to explore their imaginations, but to delve deeply into their dreams, aspirations, and reflect upon their own capacity for creativity. Inspired by conversations around innovation, discovery, and shining a light, this year’s theme draws from artists’ tendencies to venture into the unknown, to discover (or re-discover) new practices, and to shine a light on stories unheard. With this concept in mind, the faculty and staff here at P.S. ARTS are excited to announce the following artists and their masterworks for this year:
The Light of Discovery
1.8 San Diego, CA by Janet Echelman
Janet Echelman is an American sculptor and fiber artist, best known for use of “unorthodox materials” such as steel thick fiber and string. Since 1997, Echelman has devoted her time to designing and creating public, site-specific installations that respond to their environment. One of her more recent works that we thought our students would be excited to explore is 1.8 San Diego which was designed in 2016 and sits in Embarcadero Marina Park where the annual Adobe MAX Creativity Conference meets. This gigantic floating form is composed of layers of braided and knotted fibers that change color when it moves in the wind. This particular sculpture’s net structure is meant to be a physical manifestation of interconnectedness, as the artist’s sculpture invites us to pause, gaze, and contemplate the interconnectedness of us all. Echelman strives to find the balance between art, human connection, and nature, which is something our Teaching Artists are eager to examine with our students.
1.8 San Diego, Ca, 2016
Janet Echelman – http://www.echelman.com/project/1-8-san-diego-2016/
“Fossils” from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns
Charles-Camille Saint-Saens was a French composer and conductor of the Romantic era. Among his best-known works is the humorous musical suite, The Carnival of the Animals, and we have named one of its movements, “Fossils,” as our music masterwork. Camille Saint-Saens composed his fourteen-movement suite in Austria in 1886. In The Carnival of the Animals, each movement represents a different animal. The movement we chose is meant to evoke skeleton bones dancing. “Fossils” is also a bit of a musical joke because Saint-Saens hid allusions to other famous musical compositions of his time within the piece. We can’t wait for our students to hear this masterwork and learn about the various zoological references in the suite, as well as the “musical joke” behind this movement.
Amplify 2016-17- Saint Saens Fossils
Shreveport Symphony Orchestra – http://shreveportsymphony.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FOSSILS.pdf
Saint-saens Carnevale Degli Animali – Parte 3
ink by Camille A. Brown
ink is a sequence choreographed and first performed by Camille A. Brown at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in December 2017. The dance celebrates African-American narratives and the traditions ingrained within the lineage of African Diaspora using gestural vocabulary. Implementing the rhythms and sounds of traditional African handmade instruments, the work travels through time by incorporating different elements of Swing, Blues, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. Brown’s ink is made up of seven dancers, including herself. Her work captures the spirit-hood of black love, brotherhood, and resilience.
“I see black people as SUPERHEROES because we just keep RISING.”
-Camille A. Brown
Ink – Camille A. Brown & Dancers
Christopher Duggan-Eric Politzer – https://www.nyuad-artscenter.org/en_US/events/2019/ink-camille-a-brown-and-dancers/
Camille A. Brown & Dancers – “ink” Excerpt At The Kennedy Center
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
You may have heard about the Wrinkle in Time movie starring Oprah Winfrey. Although we all know Oprah is a master at her craft, we are celebrating another pioneering woman author, Madeleine L’Engle, as one of our master artists this year! In 1962, Madeleine L’Engle wrote her first science fantasy novel, A Wrinkle in Time. Just a year after its publication, L’Engle won the Newbery Medal for this fantastical novel starring a female protagonist (which was basically unheard of this during this time!) Shortly after winning the award, L’Engle faced controversy for her choice to have a female protagonist in her novel. Nevertheless, the novel has had a lasting influence and is still celebrated today. In fact, almost six decades later, the book has launched a new generation of fantasy writers and continues to be a popular book to include in school curricula.
“A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
The Remarkable Influence Of A Wrinkle in Time
Natalie Escobar – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/remarkable-influence-wrinkle-in-time-180967509/