8th Grade Art Museums Trip

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8th Grade Art Museums Trip

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By Ava McElhone-Yates ’17

Last week, the eighth grade at the Williston Northampton School traveled to two art museums in central Massachusetts. The first museum was the Clark Art Institute. Taking a tour of French art, they saw many pieces including prints, oil paintings, watercolors, and sculptures.

Opened in 1955 by an art loving couple by the names of Sterling and Francine Clark, this museum has long been a place to admire artwork and learn art history. At the museum, the students learned about painting techniques, admired prints, learned about French Art History, and saw pieces by some very well-known artists including by Claude Monet.

After leaving Clark, the students had lunch in Williamstown, home of Williams College. They had options of many restaurants including Vietnamese, Indian, and Thai cuisine along with delis, pizza places, and coffee shops.

Next, the group visited Mass MoCa. Named as the largest center for Contemporary art, it has many interactive, visual, performance, and interesting exhibits. At this visit, the students got a tour featuring art made with unique materials. They saw many exhibits, including “Oh, Canada” featuring art by sixty-two different Canadian artists. They also saw walls of art by Sol Lewitt. Composed of three different floors, this exhibit is unique in the fact that Sol Lewitt himself did not create the work, just the instructions. That means that the pieces will never be recreated exactly. This exhibit will be up until 2033.

To many people, art is only stiff paintings and realistic sculptures. That is definately art, but these people have not been to Mass MoCa. At this museum, students saw art made of paint residue, legos, hair, wood, lights, water bottles, and soap along with other materials. A life size bear covered in felt roses was dyed with the color from bugs. A white van was covered in punched circular holes letting light through, and yet all pieces had one thing in common: they all made you think.

Some of the eighth grade students had been to these museums previously to this trip, some had not. Whichever the case, the students most definitely left with a new way of thinking about art. Together, the two museums demonstrated varieties of art different from each other. The eighth graders now realize art can be made of many different things, and can be found in many different places thanks to this trip.

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