November 10th, 2008
Anna Poss, Gallery Assistant–For the Sorrento Springs visit, I was stationed at the landscape medallion. Students were instructed to examine the paintings for five minutes, then to take note of what they noticed and what they wondered. It was interesting to watch a younger audience interact with the paintings and to notice their reactions were on an emotional level, rather than a scholastic level. Often guests examine the paintings looking for meaning and historical significance, so it was refreshing to witness such pure, instantaneous reaction to the works.
After the students shared their observations, I gave a brief overview and answered questions. The students were curious to know about the paintings, especially about the locales they depicted and the artists’ inspiration. Their comments were surprisingly insightful and poignant. One student was able to identify two paintings by the same artist simply by observing similar styles and techniques.
The last part of the assignment required that students come up with a musical based upon a painting of their choosing. This was perhaps, for me, the most entertaining and thought-provoking part of the experience. The creativity that poured out of these young minds was incredible. One student wanted to create a musical based upon a tree in a particular painting. The tree would be wise and all-knowing, a grandmother figure for an entire village. Another young girl was inspired by another painting depicting a family outing to write a musical about a family who was so impoverished that they had to sell themselves into slavery.
The entire experience was delightful and the students went above and beyond any expectations that I had for the behavior and understanding of fifth-graders. These students inspired me to look at the paintings in a new light and motivated me to approach art in a more individualistic and emotional manner.