May 11, 2021
Nicholson Continues to Build Community through Art
This year has no doubt been a tricky year for educators on a variety of levels, and this includes the art world in a big way. Much of art is based on seeing the concepts and visuals in real-time and being able to interact with them in a meaningful way. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic this year, art teacher Katherine Nicholson didn’t let this stop her. Harnessing the same creativity that she pours into her students and utilizing the support of the Goodman Banks program, Nicholson was able to thread into the curriculum a number of artists into her classes via Zoom throughout the winter and spring. These included sculptor Kjellgren Alkire, printmaker Kyung Eun You, and sculptor Bhavna Mehta.
In April, Nicholson’s Form 2 sculpture class got an in-depth opportunity with Kjellgren (Kjel) Alkire.This collaboration began with a visit from Alkire, who spoke about his artistic journey and the historic time that we are living. Alkire is based in the midwest, and his work centers around the community, specifically natural and human-made structures. Nicholson used this foundation to create a project for her class, focusing on the idea of home, place, and community. Students built cardboard houses and environments out of a variety of materials to speak to this concept and then used this for a stop-motion animation video or digital set. The goals included building a structure that creates a sense of place for the viewer, connecting sculptures with peers to build community, learning cardboard techniques to build a model, and lastly, creating a setting in which to build a stop motion video or a 3D digital drawing
Nicholson saw the opportunity to wrap in an interdisciplinary aspect, taking it a step further to collaborate with David Hild’s Form 3 English classes. Using Erin Morgenstern’s “10 Sentence Flax-Golden Tales” concept, English students interviewed Nicholson’s art students about this work on “Building Community, Finding Home, and Searching for Place,” then wrote short stories which join the two ideas. Utilizing Google sites, Nicholson was able to digitally present the portfolio of the collaboration in a beautiful way.
Nicholson said, “I am so thankful for Goodman Banks this year, especially, as it is helping me make my classes that much more exciting and helping us through.”