SAINT LOUIS, MO.- The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
announced the completion of a two-year collaborative project with Metro Academic Classical High School (Metro) through Contemporary ArtReach made possible by a second $10,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund. The Monsanto Fund also provided a $10,000 grant to support the first year of the project and additional funding was received from Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; William T. Kemper Foundation Commerce Bank Trustee; National Endowment for the Arts; and Macys Foundation.
Through this collaboration, students of a Metro International Baccalaureate Art class worked for two years to complete the planning, designing, and building of a site-specific public sculpture on the grounds of their school. This sculpture will be presented with a public dedication on May 19, 2009.
The project taught students about the nature of collaboration and working together, said Tom Tobias, Metro International Baccalaureate Art class instructor and supervisor of the project. They learned to develop and articulate their ideas, and to problem solve. It wasnt always easy. Students also learned to listen to and respect the views of others. After several semesters of planning, revising our plans, and fabricating the components, its exciting to have this piece of sculpture on the schools campus for everyone to enjoy.
Building on the popular exhibition Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes at the Contemporary in 2007, students at Metro planned, designed, and built a site-specific public sculpture named, Untitled Gathering Place which takes the shape of a circle of clay seats surrounded by bamboo and grass. The piece is meant to be a place for students to meet and mingle on their schools campus and is inspired partially by Maya Lins sculpture, Peace Chapel at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA.
During the first year of this project students studied the work of Maya Lin, researched her major Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and visited local arts institutions where they were introduced to a variety of artistic themes, techniques, and media used in public sculpture. This research allowed them to use critical thinking and communication skills as they created and discussed several proposals for the sculpture for their school.
In the second stage of this project, students had the opportunity to work with the artist-in-residence, Ilene Berman, Contemporary staff members, Metro teachers and administrators, and architects to make their final decisions about the sculpture how it functioned as a gathering place, and how it related to the landscape. Finally they addressed the construction process and produced the work.
The public dedication of the sculpture will be held on Tuesday, May 19 at 10:00 am at Metro Academic Classical High School. Approximately 250 students will be in attendance of the dedication.