Action!  Finally, after 3.5 months of work, collaborating, weaving, welding, painting, and blogging, the Whale is ready!  The sound has been installed and the lighting is set.  Coming to the end of the process of making a piece of artwork, no matter how big or small, is always a bag of mixed emotions.  We have hopes about how the audience will respond.  We have some sense of sadness because the “work” is over and it’s time to let the public have their moment.  We feel pride in what we’ve accomplished and then, upon realizing how high we’ve just set the bar for ourselves, we feel pressure to produce something better next time.  It’s all part of the process; part of creating something that pushes boundaries and challenges others to think deeper about themselves and the world around them.

For me, this is a time of reflection as the Artist/Educator who guided these students, and my coworkers, through such an involved process.  Did I do a good job?  Did I stay true to my vision?  Did the students really learn something they can take with them into the future?  I predict, that by tomorrow after the big reveal, I will feel comfortable in saying “yes” to all of those questions.  I’m very proud of my amazing students who committed themselves from the beginning of this crazy adventure.  They trusted me, maybe because they knew I was along for the ride, too.

While they had their goals to accomplish, I had my own.  We hear so much about interdisciplinary learning and merging the Liberal Arts with the STEM area of academia, but we rarely see evidence of the outcome for those theories.  This project is that and more.  It proves that our students not only can, but want to take ownership of their education.  It proves that Art can be about more than itself.  And, it proves that learning goes beyond what the traditional classroom provides or the standard path to any career field is presumed to need.  I say presumed because the 21st century has brought along its friend – technology.  Technology decided to change the world while we slept.  Now, it is necessary to rethink how we teach, how we learn and how we interact.  This exhibit has provided fertile ground for my students to practice all of those things and it has been, in my opinion, wildly successful, (not to mention fun!).

Thank you to all the people who donated bags.  Thank you to a very trusting Administrative force at OC.  Thank you to all the volunteers and extra credit earners. Thank you to my colleagues who jumped in because I asked.  But especially, thank you Theresa, Justine, Max, Jenn and Charlie for turning your education in my dream come true.  Let’s do it again!!  😉


6 thoughts on “LIGHTS, CAMERA….

  1. This truly an exciting experience that I’m sure I will never forget. I never would have imagined that I would learn not only how to sculpt a baby whale’s face out of mesh, but also learn how to open a gallery. I learned some social skills and to take responsibility for my own class. But, ultimately I was able to see first hand how deadly these plastic bags really are. This has to be one of the best classes that I have ever had. I must admit I’m sad to see it end. My peer’s were awesome, Marie’s vision was amazing, and I think tomorrow will everyone will hopefully enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating this baby whale.

  2. What an exciting project! I’m taken with it on many levels. To my eye, it’s exciting from an artistic perspective, a technical perspective, an environmental perspective, a communications perspective and a number of others as well!

    As someone who works to promote both science literacy and the importance of the liberal arts, I can say that this project demonstrates that there are creative ways to merge disciplines and to educate people. Looking at the world through various lenses is important.

    Congratulations to you all for such a successful endeavor!

    Michael Zimmerman
    Vice President for Academic Affairs
    The Evergreen State College
    Olympia, Washington 98505

    • Thank you for your input. Your knowledge of the need to integrate disciplines of study is important and your comment helps to validate this project for me. We must all work to share the awareness of exactly why such educational structures are important to every student. I hope you can make a visit to campus while the Whale is still on display. Thanks again for chiming in on our discussion.

  3. This has been the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of when I first learned about it. It is an example of what can happen when all the members of a team hold with the vision to accomplish their goal. I think we did that. We each put so much of ourselves into this project and it become more than just another art ‘project’. With the opening reception we send our ‘baby whale’ out into the world. Like any ‘parents’ we hope it will be well received. I hope it will continue to be an inspiration for others who seek the opportunity to see a ‘dream come true.’ Thanks, Marie, for letting us make your dream, our dream.

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