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Creative Collaboration Brings To Life a Thought-Provoking Art Installation

Oct 29, 2014 | All School, Impact, Middle School News, Upper School News

photo 2To commemorate the significance of Red Ribbon Week, a national initiative, students and faculty at Mount Vernon are emphasizing the importance of making a good choice at every crossroad.
Upper School art students conceptualized and created an interactive art installation in the Overlook, bringing awareness to thinking through decisions, doing the right thing and staying out of trouble. Throughout the week, all Upper and Middle School students, faculty and staff are invited to collaborate on the installation by threading red yarn around strategically-placed nails and stringing it across and through a 16’W x 5.5’H x 3’D structure, to create a single piece of art, entitled “CHOOSE.”
Art teacher Hank Kunath shares, “There was a great amount of thought that went into the slogan and how the string should be wrapped – lots of collaboration and compromise – then finally, CHOOSE became the message with a second line, RED RIBBON WEEK 2014. The word CHOOSE has created a lot of conversation among students. AnnaGracion Partlowe and MacKenzie Gaines, the project leaders, were very creative and took total ownership on the part of the students. I enjoyed being the mentor and supplier of art, boards, and tools and wow, did they take off and run with it!”
Additionally, art students Jack Xiao, Bliss Mallory and Evelyn Sharkey took the lead on preparing the balls of yarn for the event as well as inserting the hundreds of nails needed. Mr. Kunath adds, “One afternoon I gave Bliss and Evelyn the project of creating the vertical uprights; gave the girls 2″ x 4″s and 1″ x 4″s, a couple of boxes of screws and electric drill – away they went. That afternoon, the sound was deafening.”
The creation is meant to be abstract, organic, and powerful. Participants have been asked to use a piece of string to connect various nail heads; they may choose to connect two nails – or they may connect several. As they tie their string and connect the dots, they are asked to reflect on the power of the word “choose.”
Associate Director of College Counseling, Pam Ambler, has had a major influence on the breadth of this endeavor. She says, “We all make choices. Our choices affect our lives. Often choices we make now impact future choices we will (or won’t) be able to make. Additionally, participants should think about how their choices affect others. The web of string should provide a nice visual for the complexity of the word, “choose.” Our power to choose might tie to themes surrounding influence, interconnectedness, impact and direction.”
Mrs. Ambler adds, “Parallels can also be drawn to webs. Just as a spider weaves her web, we weave our own stories. We are reminded that we are the creators of many of the situations in our lives and we, too, have the extraordinary capability of creating, weaving and spinning our own webs. We have the power to create what happens in our lives – to us and to others. The choices we make coupled with our attitude create opportunities for, as well as impact us all.”
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