SHAFAQNA – Lewis Central Middle School’s seventh-grade artists are being invited to contribute to a work of art to dedicate one of the flood-recovered crown jewels of the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.
Teacher Nicole Baker’s art students will submit drawings of themselves, based on a selfie taken with their Chromebooks or smartphones, showing what the concept of “performance” means to them, the Daily Nonpareil reported. She encouraged them include glasses, hoodies or any other accessories that are part of their identities.
“Anything that represents you, you want to have it in this,” she told the students. “It’s the selfie project, as I’ve been calling it.”
Artist Anita Jung will compile student work into an art installation at the Hancher Auditorium, which will reopen in 2016 after being built new following the destruction of the former building in 2008.
Charles Swanson, the executive director of the Hancher Auditorium, said Council Bluffs was one of seven communities with schools selected for the project. He said the Hancher seeks to reach across the state, and it has brought programs to the community in the past.
Council Bluffs Lewis Central Middle School seventh-grader Maddy Deyo brainstorms ideas she associates with the word “performance.”(Photo: Joe Shearee/Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)
“We’ve been in Council Bluffs a lot,” he said. “We like Council Bluffs. We’ve got a relationship here. We want to build with this even further with this project.”
The University of Iowa brought the Joffrey Ballet in 2007 for the rededication of Bayliss Park, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed for the renaming of Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park in 2013.
Hancher performances have been hosted in other locations for the past six years, so the university is planning a celebration when its new 1,800-seat performing arts center opens.
“We’re going to have an opening season that will be like no other,” Swanson said. “We’re going to have people there from all over the place, and this piece of art that you all do will be a part of what will be hanging in the new Hancher.”
Jung had students begin the art project this month by taking a selfie, brainstorming words they associate with “performance” and taking height measurements for another component of the project. She plans to collect student work this spring and work on the project later next year.
Council Bluffs Lewis Central Middle School seventh-grader Natalie Driver brainstorms ideas she associates with the word “performance” in a sketch.(Photo: Joe Shearee/Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)
Talking to students in one of Baker’s classes, Jung asked for input on what it takes to perform. The students said it involves training, courage, perseverance, fitness and determination, among other traits, depending on the type of performance.
“Even public speaking can be a form of performance,” Jung said. “You have to work hard, you have to not give up and it does take a lot of courage.”
Student Jason Lee was using his school-issued Chromebook to use Google searches to spark a list of words. He said he liked the idea of the massive student art project.
“I was thinking it off of here,” he said of his device.
Classmate Maddy Deyo was working on her list of words associated with “performance,” centering on various examples of performing. She was excited to work on the project as well.
“It can tell a story just by looking at it,” she said. “They can tell it’s you, and you can read the words and it totally explains you.”
Those students whose work is selected are invited to visit Iowa City to view the installation. Swanson said he hopes some of those students, members of the class of 2020, will choose to attend college at the University of Iowa.
“I would love to see you come to the University of Iowa,” he told the students. “You can come to the Hancher and see a piece of art that you were a part of in seventh grade.”
Artist Anita Jung speaks with seventh-grade students of Nicole Baker’s art class at Lewis Central Middle School on Dec. 3 in Council Bluffs.(Photo: Joe Shearee/Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)
Swanson said the project does not have a name, because students are encouraged to give suggestions. He said the Hancher hopes to come back to Lewis Central Middle School next year with an artist for a follow-up visit about the project.
“We’re very excited about this project,” he said. “We love reaching out across the state to Iowans in every community we can get to, and Council Bluffs is a very special community to us.”
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