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Fourth-graders voice their art opinions

February 18, 2016 // by Kiersten Lampe

I hadn't seen the fourth-graders from Reynolds Lane Elementary School since their field trip in early January, but as soon as I entered their classroom, they remembered me as “that MOCA lady.”

These students are participating in MOCA Jacksonville's Voice of the People, an innovative, literacy-based educational arts initiative that hones critical thinking and communication skills as it develops a deeper understanding of contemporary art. During their field trip to MOCA, the students selected works of art from the Permanent Collection for which they will write and record audio guides.

VOP Classroom Visit
During a Voice of the People classroom session, students write essays about their initial impressions of their chosen artworks, such as Street Light by Kevin Peterson, and examine the different elements, including line, color, and texture. Image courtesy of Kiersten Lampe.

During our first two classroom sessions, students wrote essays about their initial impressions of their chosen artworks and examined the different elements, including line, color, and texture. The children were just as excited and opinionated about the collection as they were during their field trip. Some of the comments I heard were:

“Everybody is walking around like zombies, and one lady looks like she's crying.” (Mosh Pit by Bryan LeBoeuf)

“She has a pimple in her hair.” (Brand New by Jenny Morgan, acquired from the Get Real: New American Painting exhibition)

Bryan LeBoeuf Mosh Pit
Bryan LeBoeuf, Mosh Pit, 2003. Oil on linen. 60 x 48 inches. Collection of Peter N. Geisler Jr., West Palm Beach, Florida. On extended loan to MOCA Jacksonville.

“It looks like a big field with houses, snakes, butterflies, and flowers.” (Untitled by Alfred Jensen)

“She looks like she's on a vacation.” (Marrozzitours by Joseph Konopka)

“It's like a pyramid grew and busted through this gold disc.” (Modello per Disco by Arnoldo Pomodoro)

I've looked at these works and discussed them on tours countless times, but these students' comments shed new light and perspective on the Permanent Collection. I look forward to some fascinating audio guides!

MOCA Permanent Collection Jenny Morgan Brand New
Jenny Morgan, Brand New, 2014. Oil on canvas. 32 x 28 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Driscoll Babcock Galleries, New York City, New York.

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