Opportunity House clients who participate in the Learning for Life program offered through Kishwaukee College created artwork modeled after well-known artists that will be on view in a special art exhibition. The Opportunity House Art Show will have an opening reception on Wednesday, October 14 from 5 – 7:00p.m. at Opportunity House, 357 N. California St. in Sycamore. There will be a short presentation on the Learning for Life Program at 6:00p.m. Community members are invited to the presentation as well as view the works and meet the artists at the reception. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.
As part of the Learning for Life program, the Opportunity House clients participated in two Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) classes this fall, led by instructor Carla Raynor, Coordinator of the Family Literacy Program at Kishwaukee College. Participants continued the VTS program by working in new units, VTS V and VTS VI. The participants viewed artwork from masters, including Roy Lichtenstein, Toulouse Lautrec, Winslow Homer, Henri Rousseau, Camille Pissarro, Frederic Remington, Edgar Degas, Edward Hopper, Michelangelo, Rene Magritte, Dorothea Lange and Jackson Pollack.
VTS is used extensively as a teaching method with students from kindergarten through college, including in several medical schools. The method is based in cognitive psychology research and revolves around an examination and exploration of famous artworks by students in a group. The art is presented in a non-judgmental, free-form group discussion format that encourages communication about what is seen in the work and interpretation of the image. The method builds observation skills, vocabulary, group interaction, exchange of ideas and critical thinking skills.
Raynor took the traditional VTS format and included creation of artwork as part of the curriculum. “I added in the history and background information of each artist we were studying and their particular style. Then we did some artwork based on that style,” she explained. The Opportunity House participants experimented in class with various art techniques then created their final works at home on their own. The final works have been collected for public display in the exhibition at Opportunity House on October 14.
Raynor said, “The students are very excited about having their artwork shown and people seeing the works. In class, they really enjoyed presenting their pieces to the class and explaining what they had done, what it meant. The rest of the class could then offer their interpretations and even critique the piece. Presenting and critiquing were both new and excellent experiences for the students! They were excited and became more confident over time. The pride in their work is wonderful!”
For more information about the Opportunity House Art Show, contact Carla Raynor at 815-825-2086, ext. 2910 or by email at Carla.Raynor@kishwaukeecollege.edu.
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