Artist Residencies in Schools Grant
The Vision, Verse & Verve Project
Rhythm is a word used by visual artists and musicians alike to indicate a patterned repetition of a motif, but artists and musicians rarely work together to make the connections. With the support of funding from the NH State Council on the Arts, Portsmouth Middle School students put brushes to canvas while listening to a talented jazz group, in Ears 'n Eyes (IENE), interpreting the sounds into visual expressions.
The group IENE, founded by New Hampshire musicians Roger Goldenberg and Matt Langley, collaborates with a number of artists, composing music based on what certain colors might “sound like” and how brush strokes vary with the music’s rhythm.
The paintings that resulted at Portsmouth Middle School kicked off the students’ study of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that consisted of new and dynamic African-American cultural and artistic expressions that emerged in the urban areas of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States in the 1920s and 30s.
Designed to engage students’ creativity in new and dynamic ways, the Portsmouth Middle School project was coordinated by art educator Anna Nuttall. IENE set up their five-piece jazz band and played impromptu music based on words chosen by the students. As IENE played live, the students responded to the music by creating collaborative abstract paintings, which pop with movement and color.
An exhibit of their work entitled Vision, Verse & Verve: Timeless Themes of the Harlem Renaissance opened on Saturday, April 12, at the Seacoast African American Cultural Center, 10 Middle St., and will remain on display until the end of June.
An added feature of the project enabled 85 students to attend the Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH.
"You could see the relation between the music and the art. Now I understand the whole process of making a painting, too." — Portsmouth Middle School AIR Participant
Artist Residencies in Schools (AIR) grants provide partial funding to bring juried teaching artists into classrooms and public schools for support of quality arts learning, and development of creative skills in the arts. For more information on AIR grants and NHSCA’s Roster of teaching artists contact Catherine O’Brian.
June 2, 2014