OCE Newsletter: last updated 01/14/2014
During the fall semester, Tanja Butler, associate professor of visual arts, took on an interesting project with her Intro to Painting students. Cobbet Elementary School in Lynn, one of Gordon’s partners in the city, was painted this summer, which left the school clean but free of decoration or inspiration.
When Butler and her students heard that the school had formed a new art club, composed mostly of fifth graders, they decided to work with the club to create an art project for the school.
In October, the painting students travelled to Cobbet and met with art club members and their advisor, Heather LaRosa. Gordon students and Cobbet students did a small project together and also discussed inspiration for the walls of Cobbet.
Molly Elizabeth Sidell ’16 explains that the class “decided on this project because we wanted to inspire the students of Cobbet Elementary and rekindle their school pride. The planning was . . . quite the challenge, but in the end we can see how many different forms, colors, styles and subjects can come together to form a beautiful and exciting whole."
With the children’s ideas in mind, Butler’s students got to work. They developed a large painting for the stairwell of Cobbet, divided into several panels. As their final project for the painting class, each of Butler’s students took on one or two panels, using the name of the school and different themes for each panel, including reading, art, history and nature.
The result is big, bold, and beautiful and now proudly graces the walls of Cobbet.
"Often, artists feel—rightfully or not—that they are alone, and doubt that their art is making any meaningful difference in the world. Doing the Cobbet mural was a tremendous blessing—tangible proof that artists can work in community and for community," reports Rachel Neikirk ’15.
Butler’s students will return to Cobbet at the end of January to celebrate the installation and share their inspiration with Cobbet’s art club.