"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." This is just a fancy way of saying, “don’t yuk my yum.” And this is just a confusing way of saying everything can be meaningful to somebody else. Art is a way to express yourself, and whether you take art classes at our Enrichment or Xploration programs or you are interested in more intense art programs for high schoolers like the Art: Summer At Penn program, that is exactly what you do. You express yourself. You tell the world how you feel about the most important things in your life. The world you are living in plays a huge part of what is important to you. When I was a student, I spent all four of my high school years in Studio Art classes daily. As I passed on to the next level each semester, the classes got smaller. As I advanced to higher levels, I became a part of a team of young artists who came together for an hour or more each day to work. We all had something different to say and we all had a different way to say it, but together, we made each story meaningful. I was a print-maker. Others were drawers. Some were sculptors while others were landscape painters. For me, I liked to tell the story of how pop culture influenced the world I lived in. In this team, we observed how others interpreted the stories we were trying to tell and this made us all better at telling them. I was incredibly thankful for that opportunity and came away with a portfolio that I, to this day, am still very proud of. Recently, The Daily Beast posted an article highlighting the 20 most-anticipated art exhibits in the United States in 2014. Among the list of incredible collections is the Ruffneck Constructivist exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, the site of the Art: Summer at Penn program. Curated by famous silhouette artist, Kara Walker, this exhibit brings together a collection of sculptures, photographs and videos outlining the issue of racial inequality that still affects the US today. 11 artists have come together to tell the story of those that have built themselves into success stories when the world that they lived in counted them out.
This exhibit features a wide variety of artistic methods, styles and disciplines created by many artists from all different backgrounds. Summer art programs are exactly this. Young artists from all over the world, spanning the spectrum of cultural, racial and religious backgrounds, come together to study many different artistic disciplines, putting them all together to host one exhibit at the culmination of the program. Here, they share the stories that are important to them. Whether you are a painter, photographer, film-making aficionado, sculptor or animator, there is a voice for each student. That is what art is all about and I am happy to be a witness to it this summer.
To all of the artists out there, if you had a platform like this to share a story that was important to you, what would that story be?