Monday, November 15, 2010
Iron Pour with Shawnee Mission High School
This Iron Clad Collaboration began when Rosie Riorden appeared one morning in the sculpture foundry at the Kansas City Art Institute along with 11 other high school teachers. What followed was a high energy, fast paced workshop that consumed everyone in the studio. The #90 crucible had to struggle to keep up with the students who volunteered to cast the sand molds around the clay and carved objects the teachers were making. From the start, students like, Lea Griggs, were able to demonstrate the casting methods they had been learning in the sculpture department and demonstrate them in a safe and extraordinarily efficient manner. When the smoke had literally clears, every side, top and bottom of each sand mold held an individual work. Teachers poured metal, many for the first time, students ran the furnaces and I enjoyed every trilling minute of it.
After a couple of months, I received a call from Rosie inviting me down to the Shawnee Mission West High School and I immediately invited one of my directed study student, Torre Lewis. Rosie introduced us to her students and showcased the new Patrons Gallery the high school. It was at this time that I recognized the potential for making this show into something much more complex and difficult and Torre was certainly up for the challenge. With the assistance of Timothy Skornia, Shane Jezowski, Lea Griggs and several other students, the students began volunteering to work directly with Rosie's students every Friday morning at 7:15 am over the course of the fall term. I was glad to hear that they organized an iron casting field trip on Friday October 2nd and began brainstorming ideas. In the end, they all managed to carry out their vision in a clear and determined fashion while mentoring Rosie's students.
KCAI sculpture students provided the Shawnee Mission students with images and examples of pre-existing molds and soon they were in full production. The field trip to KCAI was organized and an iron casting workshop and demonstration was coordinated with a trip to the Nelson and the Kemper. I will let you judge form the exhibition as to how excited and satisfied the high school students were in regards to there first cast iron collaboration. In turn, the KCAI students followed up with the patina, cutting and writing workshops associated when the project and interviews were compiled on paper and video. All that remained was for us to do was install the entire exhibition which included framing and hanging all of the work, publicizing the event and shipping a 500 pound furnace, that melted all of the iron, into the exhibition space.
At this point in time, I can honestly say that this has been the most rewarding exhibition I have taken part in. The opening reception was fantastic, people came together, Torre gave a slide presentation, and the video documentation revealed the essence of the "Iron Clad Collaboration". If you missed the opening, I highly recommend that you attend the Shawnee Mission West Gallery Gala on the 3rd of December.
It is my hope that Rosie and I will be able to extend this invitation to future students at both KCAI and Shawnee Mission West and let new students step into the professional, teaching/mentorship role that so many students benefitted from taking part in during the fall term of 2009.
During the Fall of 2010, Rosie organize a field trip of 40+ students to Wickerson Studios and participated in an all day iron pour that took place during Michael Wickerson's sabbatical from KCAI. Experienced artists: Ashley Anders, John Northington, Shane Jezowski, Stephanie Sterling and newcomer, Max Adolf Nerman, helped to organize and make the day a fantastic experience for all involved.