On Friday, twelve DownCity Design teens handed off the outdoor furniture they had designed and built for Project Open Door. In our proposal to them, we had asked that whatever they produced it would: (1) extend the studio to the outdoors, (2) engage the outdoor space, (3) provide a community gathering space, and (4) respond to the existing landscape. The final result was just amazing and what was so impressive to me, beyond the crafstpersonship of the build, was the way that each of the build team members spoke so well about her/his design process. It was just wonderful to see how much joy these teens displayed in seeing and hearing how pleased we were with the gift they had given Project Open Door.
Project Open Door's 355 South Water Street studio was was a buzz with activity last week as 15 teens participated in week-long "Photographic Imaging" studio that was a collaboration between POD and the College Crusade of Rhode Island.
The week's studio activities were orchestrated by two photographers and RISD alums - Scott Lapham and Jonathan Chamberlain. During the week the teens explored connections between science, art, and photography. In one of a number of assignments, they examined concepts of shutter speed and were challenged to take a photograph that captured the moment a balloon burst.
POD's Saturday and Senior Portfolio students' work received a whole bunch deal of praise from all that attended its Winter Exhibition's opening reception last Thursday evening. Our 355 South Water Street was transformed into an elegant gallery thanks to Associate Director Lauren Allen's careful curation and professional installation. While we, of course, congratulate the POD students on their work, we must acknowledge the commitment of POD's Saturday instructors Christine Enos and Clara Lieu whose creatively set assignments have challenged their students to let their imaginations fly and their artistic talents develop.
After their 3-hour Saturday class, 16 Portfolio and Senior Portfolio students, accompanied by POD's Director Dr. Paul Sproll and Associate Director Lauren Allen, boarded a RIPTA bus to make the brief journey across the City to Rhode Island College (RIC) to spend an afternoon with RIC students and faculty getting to know the College's Art programs. The visit was wonderfully facilitated by Dr. Cheryl Williams RIC's Art Education Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of Art & Educational Studies. What was especially significant about our visit this year was that during lunch 3 POD 2015 alumni (Keane Patino Cyler, Jennifer Flores, and Jessebead Gill) currently RIC Freshmen and all Art majors, shared their college experiences with the group. We are delighted to report that another POD 2015 alumna Brianna Castro, while not majoring in Art, is also a RIC Freshman.
After lunch the group divided in two and toured Alex & Ani Hall, RIC's extraordinary Art Center, where POD teens were introduced by RIC faculty to the Center's amazing studio facilities and resources in Sculpture, Printmaking, Ceramics, Jewelry & Metals, Photography, Graphic Design and Digital Media. The afternoon's visit culminated in a introduction to RIC's Unity Center and its programming to support diversity across the campus. POD is so grateful for the partnership that has been developing in recent years with Rhode Island College's Art Department and we are especially appreciative of the effort that Dr. Williams takes to make sure that POD students are aware of the opportunities that RIC has to offer both in Art and indeed in a rich variety of other majors. We are also so grateful to the RIC faculty who took time out of their precious Saturdays to share their studio degree programs with us.