Bozeman Lodge Retirement Community was the perfect stop Monday morning. Everyone that stopped by the exhibit was very curious about all of the artwork. One of our artists, Gina Gahagan, visited to share her piece and talk about her process with the Bozeman Lodge residents. Some of them were artists themselves, and really impressed me when they shared their work with me. Talking about art became contagious and one hour turned in to four. I appreciated the opportunity to share the Art Mobile's exhibit and was very appreciative to those that took the time to share their own artwork with me.
I felt right at home in the Bynum School. The students and teachers were very nice and helpful. I could tell that they were all so close and that they took care of one another. This is one of the many great things that happens with smaller schools. It was as if I got to be a part of their family for the day and it felt great. They were all impressed with the artwork and really took their time exploring each piece and coming up with their own interpretations. We ran out of time for a project because we were talking for so long about the artwork, but we did get some of our creativity out by drawing and coloring for a bit. The ladies of the school were generous enough to save me a spot at their lunch table, and I got to hear all sorts of stories over peanut butter sandwiches and carrots. The boys helped me load up the van and I pulled out of the school. As I drove away, the students were out for recess and they all stopped what they were doing to wave goodbye. I was so humbled and grateful for my time there with all of them.
What a day! I don't think the students or myself will ever forget this day. The whole school got to participate in the exhibit and presentation. Each student was able to come and create their own artwork with me as well. We made hats, collages, and had a fashion show! The art teacher was great, and helped me collect extra recyclables for the fashion show, so we had plenty of materials to work with. I could not have been more impressed with the levels of creativity and the effort the high school students gave while making their outfits. The hard work paid off, and we had a fashion show that will forever be hard to top. Not only were the models fantastic, the announcers were clever and hilarious in their descriptions of their wearable art. The room was filled with laughter for the entire show. When I left the school that day I was smiling ear to ear and I know I was not alone.
I arrived at Valier school right after the buses, so the halls were full of students when I walked in. I had several helpers come out with me to the van to unload. With each trip I made, the number of helpers multiplied. Soon I had about twenty kids out there wanting to carry something in. No need for the cart today! As I was setting up in the library, the kindergartners who were out for recess kept peeking in the windows with curiosity. The day was filled with classes coming to view the artwork and learn about the Art Mobile. It was the first visit that the school had ever had. I did a printmaking project with a high school group and they loved it. They had never heard of the process before, so it was all new and exciting. The highlight of the day for me was all the giggles that occurred when I unloaded the mannequin and handed it to a fifth grade boy to carry in. It was priceless.
It was a beautiful drive from Missoula to Centerville early Tuesday morning. I drove up, down, and around valleys and mountains that I had never seen in Montana. By following rivers and streams, I discovered a region of our state for the first time. Centerville is tucked away in the rolling fields of west-central Montana. I worked with the high-school art students for the afternoon. We discussed the artworks that I had brought and shared our ideas and interests. We also created our own artwork, this time it was artwork we could wear. This group of students was my first to create, perform, and present their very own wearable-art. We had a full on fashion show and it was a blast! There was not one person in the room who was having a bad time, I can guarantee that. Thanks Centerville, for creating such a fabulous first fashion show.
Story about taking Speaking Volumes, Transforming Hate to the elementary audience, by Anna Paige