A stroll through Virginia Beach Middle School (VBMS) reveals a wealth of imagination and creativity.
Recently, the gifted visual arts sixth- and seventh-grade students have been focusing their energy on a new project – recreating famous works of art to display as part of the school’s Living Museum.
“Each exhibit and artwork will come to life in the hallways,” said Ann Baker, a gifted arts teacher at VBMS. “The students have become museum curators for this project. They have researched an artist, defined what qualities are important to reflect in the art piece selected and were challenged to add a performance element to each piece.”
The artwork will be displayed in the hallways with students performing as docents, artists or actual physical embodiments of the artwork.
All of the famous paintings for the event will be auctioned that evening, and proceeds will go toward a scholarship for a graduating high school senior who participated in the Gifted Visual Arts Program.
Seventh-grade art student Yeardley Pearson said she enjoyed this project. “My group was given the artist Basquiat. I had never heard of him before so this experience allowed me to learn more about him as an artist and his work.”
Pearson and her teammates, Kate Rotolo and Aiden Kokkinakos, researched their artist before deciding to paint his well-known untitled skull painting. Rotolo said she learned that Basquait used paint as a form of communication. “He is really known for using social commentary in his paintings and using his artwork as a platform to talk about issues like racism and drug-use.”
Although the Living Museum is not new to VBMS, the project hasn’t been done in many years. Baker said she is glad to bring it back with the help of some grant money. The student-centered assignment earned a $2,000 innovative learning grant from the Virginia Beach Education Foundation, underwritten by Quality Stone Concepts.
“This project allows students to participate in an authentic learning experience. They are planning their own museum display, acting as a museum docent and using the language of the discipline to interpret, analyze and describe the works of art to the museum guests,” Baker wrote in the grant application form.
The students will hold performances at Virginia Beach Middle School Thursday, Feb. 21, from 9:30 a.m.-noon for students, staff and teachers and from 5-7 p.m. for the public.