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|Artist visits Winnsboro for five-day residency|
World-renowned artist and actor Kevin Reese has spent the last 25 years sharing his enthusiasm and experience in the visual and performing arts at schools, art centers, and museums across the U.S. and abroad. Students in Margaret Ellerman's art classes were recently given the opportunity to work with Reese and his Mobile Residency Project at Franklin Parish High School.
During the five-day residency program, Reese meets with the principal or art teacher to discuss size and placement of the mobile. The overall design and concept of the piece is left to the students and their ideas. From the student's drawings, Reese constructs a smaller model of the actual installation. The structure can be as tall as eight feet by twenty feet in width. The artistic elements combine with the educational and the students are left to do the work of dimensions, patterns and color.
"The kids do most of the work," Reese told The Washington Post. "The result is one big piece of kinetic art."
When considering a form for the sculpture, patriotism emerged as a thematic element befitting the FPHS Patriots and the community.
The three-dimensional abstract design is made of mostly metal and wood and supports moving appendages. The red, white, and blue colors are perfect complements to the silvery metal waves and hanging star.
Over the five-day period, Reese showed the students how to cut, measure and prepare the various pieces of the project. Students are responsible for the complete assembly on the final day and participation in the unveiling.
"This sculpture will be a great asset to the new student courtyard," said art teacher Margaret Ellerman. "Working on this project was an extraordinary experience for the students."
Ellerman, an established artist in her own right, served as a liaison between the art students and Reese.
According to the website schoolsculptures.com, Reese's Mobile Residency Program was born when a principal asked him if her students could design a piece of public art for their campus.
Wiley McClary, asst. supt. of the Franklin Parish School Board, helped initiate the program at FPHS.
"I jumped at the chance to have Kevin come to the high school," said McClary, I think that anytime we can give kids the opportunity to participate in the arts, not just performing and vocal, but visual artistry as well, that can only be a good thing."
"I saw him the first time in Baltimore," said Gene Thompson, executive director of the Princess Theatre. "He caught Marci's attention and she encouraged me to get him to come down here."
The program was funded through a federal grant facilitated through the Princess Theatre, earmarked for instructional education.
"The piece is a symbol of a new beginning at Franklin Parish High School," said Ellerman, "and a chance for the students to show their patriotism for their school, community and parish."
A dedication ceremony was held in the courtyard of the campus on Sept. 16, 2008. The mobile was unveiled to the school community and dedicated by Principal Sartin to the "Past, present and future students at Franklin Parish High School."