Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ghosts at the Islip Art Museum, October 8, 2011

Nearly twenty years ago I taught a workshop at the Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY. Fresh out of undergrad, it was my first teaching experience. I think it was a cartooning class for kids. There, and at that moment, I fell into my present career. It was in that converted Dining Room space where I led a group, introduced them to art and watched as processes unfolded. Back then, I would look at the ceiling moldings and the carvings on the fireplace and imagine the space in another time, filled with other people: a fine dinner in the golden age of Long Island Hunt Clubs and Vanderbilt splendor, a rowdy breakfast of orphans reaching for more bread. I never imagined that twenty years later, I would be standing in that classroom, remembering a younger me.  And as I stood there a few days ago, I added that image of a tentative new teacher in a museum school to the socialites and the foundlings that passed through the room.

A student in my 2011 workshop asked me, “What is your favorite thing that you do in art?” I paused and thought deeply about this.  The materials and methods change. My subjects change. The teaching/learning relationships change.  Ultimately, this is my favorite thing that I do: to change and to grow and to evolve. I discovered that my favorite thing to do is to transition or transcend my old self, like a ghost finally crossing over into a new existence.  The process is not always easy - I tend to linger like a haunting spirit, reluctant to move on.

At the end of class, I spoke with the Education Coordinator at the Islip Art Museum. She told me that a team of paranormal investigators had recently visited the museum. They were looking for spirits who might be inhabiting the ether, who might be tickling the attic floorboards.  And I thought that perhaps my workshop was something of a paranormal investigation: a search for the vestiges of our younger selves, a portal into another time.  Delving into memories, however fleeting, help us make sense of who we are now.

I was privileged to share my artistic process with some extraordinary women in this class.  The following images are evidence of their explorations into papier-mâché and personal narrative. I am most grateful for their openness to learning and their serious contemplation of their own Secrets Within.

Carolyn Callahan

Sally Haughney

Betty Doonan

Ruth Davis

Kate Becker

Patricia Sayers

Rita Hoffman

Sunday, February 20, 2011




Angry Golden Boy

Goodbye and Thank You!

My dear STAC friends, it was a pleasure and privilege to work with you for the past three weeks. In a short amount of time, you were each able to make substantial progress with this project.  You each took a unique approach to the complex subject of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Thank you for your serious contemplation of this classic moral concept, and for fearlessly diving into the papier-mache process.

Sarah, Justin and Shiana, your work is on its way to Wisconsin, along with my Angry Golden Boy. It would be great if you could post the title of the work here, along with a statement about the piece. I will be posting photos of your finished work shortly.

Febs, Courtney, Caitlyn, Mairead and Molly, if you would like to send your signed work, along with a title and artist's statement to the auction, here is the address:

Christine End
c/o John Michael Kohler Arts Center
608 New York Ave.
Sheboygan, WI 53081

It needs to arrive at the address above by March 2, 2011. 

You will need to wrap the work with bubble wrap and ship it in a box that is at least three inches larger than the piece all around.  Please post photos of your finished work here, even if you decide to keep them. I can't wait to see the finished work!

Thanks again for a great experience. Best of luck to you in the rest of your high school careers. You will no doubt accomplish great things! Keep in touch. 

Last Day at STAC 2011