Kimball Art Center will unveil ‘One Nation’
With Veterans Day being celebrated this week, many people are thinking about their own national identity.
National identity can be conveyed in many different ways, and the Kimball Art Center has come up with a project that addresses the concept through visual art.
On Friday, Nov. 14, the Kimball Art Center will host a members opening of "One Nation," an artistic collaboration featuring the Kimball Art Center, the National Ability Center, the Park City Professional Artists Association and the KAC’s Elementary Visual Arts program.
The exhibits, which will be shown in the Badami and Garage Galleries, will be open to the public beginning Saturday, Nov. 15.
Amy MacDonald, Kimball Art Center’s education director, said the exhibits are a way to show the KAC’s mission as a cultural hub and community connector in Park City.
"The idea was essentially how interesting it would be if we would invite different groups in the community to create art that expresses their identities as Americans," MacDonald said during an interview with The Park Record. "Our symbol of the flag as our national identity is important to people in terms of expression and who they are, so we thought since Veterans Day is in November that we would invite these groups this month to give their personal statement about what being an American means to them."
MacDonald, who oversees the Elementary Visual Arts [EVA], said the program is a joint partnership between the Park City Education Foundation, Kimball Art Center and three elementary schools that started last year.
The three schools involved are Parley’s Park, McPolin and Trailside.
"Every month each child in the schools, gets an art lesson from an EVA instructor," MacDonald explained. "For last month, we focused on Jasper Johns, who inspired the pop-art movement. He loved flags and other symbols and presented those images in ways that we had never seen before."
Johns is known for using texture, color and symbolism in his works, according to MacDonald.
"So all the kids learned about collage, pop art, compositions and Jasper’s methods," she said. "They also learned about the American flag and what the stars and stripes represent."
So the EVA instructor posed the question: "If you could make your own personal flag, what would it look like?"
"What I love about the EVA program is the teachers have the core lesson plan, but there is room for the kids to express differently," MacDonald explained.
The students at Parley’s Park used encaustics, which uses melted wax and pigment, to create their flags.
"These were different than what the kids at McPolin Elementary did," she said. "Those students used symbols and made collages with different symbols in them. And one child made a reading flag that has books and words on it."
At Trailside, the students worked with symbolism, but the criteria needed to have stripes and a rectangular box.
Claire Pflueger, the Kimball Art Center’s exhibitions coordinator, said a select group of those works were displayed in Salt Lake City during Saluting Our Heroes, the National Ability Center’s Veteran’s Day luncheon at the Grand America Hotel.
"We will have other samplings of those works here in the Garage Gallery to showcase national identity and to highlight what the EVA program is," she said.
Since EVA is fairly new, many people don’t know what it is, MacDonald said.
"Every student in every grade of those three schools receives lessons from an EVA instructor," she explained. "Based on our capacity, every class gets and art class once a month. We would love to grow that to an art lesson once a week. But without EVA, there wouldn’t be art programs in the schools."
The EVA exhibit complements the Park City Professional Artists Association exhibit that is on display in the Badami Gallery, Pflueger said.
"We have a great relationship with the Park City Professional Artists Association and once a year we present a show with them," she said. "In the past, they have curated their own show, but as our new exhibitions manager Chris Baczek started this year, we thought it would be interesting to give them a theme."
There were 13 PCPAA artists who were selected to participate, Pflueger said.
"The artists submitted their works with an artist statement the explained how their works represented national identity," she said. "This exhibit embodies what the Kimball Art Center is about because it shows professional artists works and children’s works.
"What we hope to achieve through this exhibit is not only show the connection of two different groups of artists, but to also have the viewers ask themselves what they would have created to represent their own national identity," Pflueger explained.
"This exhibit also shows the importance for the Kimball Art Center to work with other nonprofits in town," MacDonald said. "We think partnerships with other nonprofits such as the National Ability Center is a rich idea that will open up more ideas as it moves along."
The Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave., will host an opening member reception for its "One Nation" exhibit that is on display in the Badami and Garage Galleries. The art was made in part to honor art therapy programs at the National Ability Center, a nonprofit that provides outdoor recreation for all abilities and veterans. The exhibits will be on display to the general public until Jan. 4. For more information, visit http://www.kimballartcenter.org .
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