The "Art on Loan" program displays the works of local artists on meeting room walls in Barnstable Town Hall. Works created by Barnstable High School students will be on display in the Town Hall Hearing Room and Selectmen’s Conference in Barnstable Town Hall, 367 Main Street, Hyannis, 2nd floor, January 9th through February 28, 2019. The work, process and interviews from the Sandy Neck Beach house experience will be featured in a mini-documentary created by the Town of Barnstable’s Chris Ledda, Video Specialist and Stone Dow, Video Assistant, airing on Barnstable’s Channel 18. For more information on this program or the artist excursion program out at Sandy Neck Beach, email [email protected] Or call 508-862-4767 Program information available at: www.ArtsBarnstable.com
ABOUT THE EXHIBITS
TOWN HALL HEARING ROOM:
This past fall four students from Barnstable High School’s Fine Arts 4 class participated in a field trip out to the Sandy Neck House at the “Halfway Point,” so called because of its location half way down the inner rim of Sandy Neck. The building, more of a nature camp than a “house,” is nestled in the maritime forest perched above the Barnstable Great Marsh. It overlooks a thick matted patch of marsh grass, Osprey nesting sites and a cluster of bird houses opening up to a view of Barnstable Harbor.
Students Anthony Almas, Maria Grigio, Bijon Luczkow and Grace Sanford, were tasked with combining what they had previously researched regarding the ecology, history, topography, and conservation aspects of Sandy Neck with their experiences journeying out to the halfway point. Accompanying them were Town of Barnstable Sandy Neck Naturalist Andrea Higgins, and Barnstable High School art teachers Abby Fay-Smith and Matt Kemp. During the day the students observed baby diamondback terrapins saved by the town’s conservation efforts, multiple tracks from a range of Sandy Neck fauna, explored the trails snaking through the maritime forest, gathered materials, and created a series of plein air sketches.
The group created a range of artistic responses, utilizing a variety of techniques including photo collage, mixed media painting, traditional acrylic painting, printmaking, and sculpture. They tell the story of the interaction of two of Barnstable’s greatest resources- the natural beauty of Sandy neck and the bright, talented, and inspiring students of Barnstable High School.
SELECTMEN’S CONFERENCE ROOM:
Filipe Miguel’s, Fine Arts 2 at Barnstable High School, students are encouraged to express themselves through a series of works called the “Individual Concentration” In this assignment, they are asked to develop three or more artworks over the course of the school year, that have a personal connection or interest. Students are asked to create these pieces for homework or between projects, in addition to regular classwork that often focuses more on skill building, technique and art applications. The works in this exhibition are examples of their individual concentrations. They are often more expressive and engaging than the average assignment. Each piece is unique to the artist. Students exercise their creative thinking skills and demonstrate an ability to communicate a cohesive idea. The goal is to offer students an opportunity to develop their own personal voice in art.
Sandy Neck Beach Park art excursion:
acrylic, pen, watercolor, collage and wood
My experience at Sandy Neck Beach was great. I learned a lot and got to see a different side of a place I have been to many times. It helped me see the perspectives of both the reporters and naturalist who traveled with us. At the end of the day, we stopped at the Midway House and free wrote about our experiences. I wrote about how calm it was even though it looked like it was going to rain. Among many things, these on the spot ideas further developed into my work. When looking for inspiration I looked at Paul Cezanne among other artists to see their perspectives on nature and artistic styles. While everyone saw the same thing on the trip they came up with different ideas, focuses, and inspirations for their work. I wanted to include that experience in my work. I wanted to show the multitude of ways to look at the same scene and how from my point of view there are many things that seem hidden but still exist that other people are more keen to see. I chose the mediums of acrylic watercolor ink and colored pencil because I needed to convey the theme of different perspectives in the same image. I also chose to make the piece look a little cobbled together and hopefully look like a progress board of many works to show my focus, where it may lay and where other people’s might be.
Ceramics and wood
The SNK experience was a tranquil one; Having the naturalist, Andrea provide information and commentary as we traveled via pick-up truck through the dunes really deepened our previously established understandings of the vast ecosystem that exists there. When we were collectively free-writing outside the midway house, the circle of life became very apparent to me when I was noting my surroundings: dead trees sprawled out from in front of me to the horizon, empty shells left behind by crustaceans growing old, flourishing bundles of purple flowers, and diamondback terrapin turtles stepping out from their eggs to see the world for the first time provided a beautiful new perspective on how life comes and goes forever. My work was lightly inspired by artist Stephanie Kilgasts’ who molds tiny, brightly colored plants including mushrooms, succulents, grass, etc, into clusters on tin cans and old cameras. I appreciate art more when the concept stems from nature, since we as humans take the Earth we live on for granted so often, and I believe Kilgast feels the same way. The specific inspiration for my artwork was the miniature mushrooms from the cranberry patch at Sandy Neck. The two ceramic mushrooms, brightly painted oranges, and reds mounted on a slice of wood log, surrounded by tufts of grass and small insects.
Most of the times I go to Sandy Neck it’s either for work or to just enjoy myself at the beach, I’ve never truly focused on the background of the beach I know so well. This time I was given the opportunity to admire the nature around me with a guide to teach me about it and point out the small details I wouldn’t have noticed on my own. Never before have I gone to Sandy Neck with the intention of creating art from what I observe and I think it’s changing that lens through which I look that made this experience so strikingly different from the previous times before. It was relaxing and allowed me to take a break from the fast pace of life. When I was sitting outside the midway house and reflecting on everything I had seen and the view before me, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. I realized that I’ve never just sat in nature and admired it for what it is. The colors and the textures of each plant all combined together made me feel an inner peace that I believe people rarely experience and I wish more people could. Yet, I couldn’t forget the trash that sat in the woods behind me and the man-made signs that contrasted the nature all around me. I was overwhelmed by all the colors and textures in the nature around me. I wanted to create something that accurately portrayed the beauty. I was inspired by the small plants I saw such as sea pickles and cranberries and goldenrod and even the poison ivy. I wanted to focus incorporate the colors I saw while also drawing attention to the issue of pollution and the need to keep sandy neck intact for future generations. The texture of the marsh grass draws the eye and hopefully creates movement within the painting which reflects the neverending movement and growth in nature. The black paint and roofing patch signifies the pollution that we see spreading more and more in nature. Just as the black paint ruins the beautiful picture, pollution ruins nature and its beauty. The multiple different shades of color were meant to incorporate all the colors and I saw while demonstrating that there are many different layers to nature and it is not just one simple color. I used acrylic paint to achieve multiple colors and shades that wouldn’t completely blend with each other as oil paint might have. The black paint and roofing patch is probably the most significant part of the piece as it draws the eye and forces the onlooker to think instead of just admire. Its thick texture was why I chose it because it is not merely mixing with the other colors but standing out on its own and covering the other paint.
The Door to the falling away of the doors.
Ink, tea, plant material, rice paper and collage
In this particular visit to Sandy Neck I felt like my mind was much more open than it had been in previous visits. I felt content, and my mind was ready to take in whatever it did take in within that piece of earth. Every single inch of the earth is its own infinitely detailed world, and there are infinite ways that a conscious being could perceive that one specific piece of earth. When I truly listen to nature, I begin to experience it differently, the labels and ideas that I had put onto everything begin to fall away. Nature reminds me that ultimately, everything is equally beautiful. Life and death are equally beautiful and equally important. In my art piece, I covered a piece of a plant I had taken from Sandy Neck with black ink, and then I covered it with a few layers of rice paper. This made me think of seeing veins underneath someone's skin. Also, in the bottom right corner of my art piece I drew part of an image that I saw on an old oven mitt that was inside the Midway House on Sandy Neck. The cloth of the oven mitt was quite old, and falling apart. This made me think of how you often see nature flourishing in the same location where you would see human-made items decaying. I find that very beautiful, and heartwarming, in a way.