By Tia Lynn Ivey
Crossroads students installed a new photography art exhibit outside of the school, after months of honing their new skills through a program offered by the Madison Artists Guild.
The Madison Artists Guild tried a new project this year with students, using some creativity to continue the annual art project in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The new exhibit is called “Community Connection.”
The aim of the project was to help students focus on “the elements of being connected, as humans, to ourselves and one another in community, using only cell-phones cameras, students and teachers took images that represented pieces of their stories and experiences.”
“The project was an experiment,” said Angelina Bellebuono, a photographer who coordinated this year’s program. “I have been eager to work with these students on an outside art project and there’s nothing like a pandemic to make you brave.”
“The photography project led us into meaningful conversations with students about connection and their sense of community. They impressed me with their depth,” said Elizabeth Collins of the Madison Artists Guild.
“Wow. This project actually turned out pretty good!” said Chuck Hanes, also with the Madison Artists Guild. “I am proud that the kids put such heart into the images and the teamwork exhibited in installing the project.”
The students took a myriad of photographs in the community and then chose the best ones to display on the exterior of their school. The group use a wheat pasting method to adhere the chosen photos to the brick on the outside of the Crossroads school building.
“This project pulls together the wonder and beauty that lies at the foundation of our community—from the students and teachers making the art, to the local printing business that literally made this project happen, to the school system embracing a non-traditional art show, to the generosity of the Madison Artists Guild in supporting and sponsoring our art for life program and this project—all in a time that feels so precarious, most days,” said Bellebuono. “There is great love in this artwork. I am so honored to be a part of it.”
The project introduced the students to photography, with some deciding to continue using their newfound creative skills.
“This art looks so good,” said Rylee Long, a student at Crossroads. “I’ve started an Instagram account just for my photography now.”
Erin Spinks, a teacher at Crossroads, was pleased with how the exhibit turned out.
“This project looks awesome!” Said Spinks. “One student’s mom rode around the building today to see the art. The kids are really proud.”
The students celebrated with an art reception at Crossroads before Christmas, to debut their photography pieces.
“Wheat pasting on brick is actually not as easy as one might think,” explained Bellebuono of the installation process. “Once we received our prints, which were beautifully done by Kacie and Danny at Metro Copier in Madison, we worked for two class days to get the show pasted up. The students assisted in layout as well as actual pasting. It was messy, cold work. They worked collaboratively and intuitively to create a beautiful, compelling photography show that represents themselves, their community and their connections in that space.”
The photography mural will stay up outside of the school for months for all to see.
“The students were amazing. They jumped into learning about photography basics, and they applied their knowledge to the images they were shooting during their off time, away from school,” said Bellebuono. “They learned about black and white composition, and they assisted in making selections from all of their work for the actual show.”
The exhibit is displayed to be viewed as drive-through public art show. To view it, take a swing by the Crossroads school, located at 1551 Bethany Road in Madison.