Perpich Studio Arts Presents “Active Reactions” Self-Portrait Exhibition, Dance and Literary Arts Students Perform at Opening
September 3, 2021
Perpich Studio Arts students opened their first exhibition of the 2021-2022 school year on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021. The exhibition is showing in the Perpich Gallery through October 30, 2021.
Titled Action Reactions, the show features artwork created over the summer by Perpich Media Arts and Visual Arts students in response to various prompts covering themes of self portraiture, what resilience means, how the student feels about their future, journaling, and memory. Our students created the artwork, wrote artist statements, and prepared all aspects of presenting our physical exhibition.
During the opening of the exhibition, on the evening of September 2nd, Studio Arts was joined by the Dance and Literary Arts Departments for scheduled performances and readings that built on the concept of self portraiture and autobiography. The first collaboration of its kind in recent memory, the students performed pieces, in some cases, that were inspired by the artwork on the gallery walls.
Kathryn D’Elia, Visual Arts Instructor and Gallery Coordinator, reflected on the work that went into the exhibition. “The Studio Arts students have spent the first two weeks of their school year assembling all elements of their Active Reactions exhibition. They created the artwork over the summer, and with instructor support, drafted their artist statement to describe their intentions, learned to wall repair, arranged artwork for exhibition, installed their work, created a title, designed a poster, adjusted lights, prepared an exhibition statement, and greeted their guests at the door. Our galleries are student-led and we are so proud of the hard work and thought our students exhibited,” said D’Elia. In addition to the impressive exhibition on display, the building was alive with activity. “What stood out to me in particular in this exhibition was the tremendous school-wide support at our opening last night. It was wonderful to bring multiple arts areas together to show and celebrate their creative work, and wonderful to see the turn out with other arts areas represented lending their support. Perpich has always been a community, but it’s wonderful to see it thriving in person.”
Shannon Hannigan, Literary Arts Instructor, shared the following about the event. “It was a thrill to gather Visual Arts, Media Arts, Dance, and Literary Arts students, plus their families and friends, to celebrate their art and Perpich! I’ve never before asked Lit students to read their work in public this soon, but the risk was worth the joy! They are already talking about next time.”
Mary Harding, Dance Instructor, explained the process that the dance students used. “The dance students created self portrait miniatures to present at the gallery opening. They experienced a variety of community building exercises to start. They also began to create a personal movement profile. The class watched and analyzed a video on dance self-portrait. They brought a cherished object from their homes or dorm rooms and created a short gesture study from the object. They even wrote an ‘I come from…’ poem. After this exploration of their own movement identities, they began to create a seed of a movement. The dancers did a gallery walk of the visual/media work and selected one to three artworks that inspired them. Students continued the choreographic process, revising and refining, sharing music possibilities, and reflecting on their inspiration choices. They started the rehearsal process by collaboratively deciding spacing, transitions, and music choices. (They also supported me in my technology learning.) The dancers successfully performed their work at the opening and will continue to work on this project. Look forward to our full concert in December!”