Red and Gold Grant Funds LACS Immersive Art

April 8, 2016

2016-03-29 14.01.08Last week, Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS) students presented a performance installation culminating an eight-week immersive art program. Gathering in the school’s black box theater, students hung large white sheets as a backdrop for projecting words, drawings, and colorful digital images. They incorporated layers of sound and art in the performance with instruments, sketches, jokes, and stories.

“This project focused on art as an immersive experience where the artist becomes a performer, and the artwork becomes emotionally interactive to the viewer, who is surrounded with sound and movement,” Gary Bercow, LACS art teacher, said. “We worked individually and in groups using sound, video, visual art and performance to create an installation and performance environment. The result was a final project presented as a performance installation filled with soundscapes.”

Funded with an Ithaca Public Education (IPEI) Red and Gold Grant, Bercow and visiting artist Anna Huff designed the program to encourage students to consider what it means to make art “that surrounds you, which you can hear, feel, see or interact with,” they stated in their grant application. The workshop was geared toward a group of 18 students interested in songwriting, installation, video, and visual art.

Throughout the project, students practiced combining different mediums—music, video, instruments, and voice. “Students gained access to types of artistic expression they maybe wouldn’t have otherwise encountered,” Huff said. “They participated in creative writing exercises that were parlayed into mini performances. They embarked on video scavenger hunts and learned skills to collaborate on music and conceptual ideas. They also constructed objects to use with video projections and used projectors as artistic tools.”

“I saw the most learning happen during the in class mini-projects where they were often grouped together to create something, perform a dialogue together, or make a soundscape,” Huff added. “The projects seemed to bring together kids who may not have otherwise collaborated, and I think they found they all had something interesting to offer and were able to see immediate results as well as share their voices with peers in their writing and video work. This can often be the most vulnerable aspect of artistic expression.”

IPEI Red and Gold Grants are awards up to $500 for projects that strengthen and enrich learning in the Ithaca City School District.

This story appeared in Lansing Star Online

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