Art with the animals
Retired art teacher and education specialist Eve Nuanez was looking for a way to enhance the artistic look of CALM, and Foothill High art teacher Laura Ghilarducci was looking for a summertime project for her students when she contacted Nuanez. The result was an invitation from Nuanez to Ghilarducci’s class to spend the July 17 morning painting at CALM.
“Warner Brooks (retired chief administrative officer of Museum Education) brought me out to CALM and asked me to bring art alive at this educational facility because its where children come to learn,” Nuanez said. “We have. It’s CALM as seen through the eyes of youth.”
On the 17th, approximately two dozen students from Foothill and West high schools put their creative talents to work painting pictures of CALM’s scenic landscapes. They also repainted weather-damaged banners and produced new ones to line CALM’s walkways and hang from the covering surrounding the picnic area.
“It’s not as easy as it sounds,” Nuanez said. “Artists would not spend hours out in the heat to create a landscape, and we didn’t ask our students to do that either. They worked from photographs in the comfort and well-lit confines of the picnic area. Painting in the hot sun is uncomfortable, the paint dries too quickly, and the artist can be overwhelmed by seeing too much. That’s why most of the great artists have an idea of what they want to paint, photograph it and then paint it in a comfortable place where they have time to finish it without being influenced by the elements.”
Some of the students did need more time to finish their paintings and took them home. When all of the artwork has been finished and collected, it will be framed and hung on a special exhibit wall with track lighting inside CALM’s main building. According to Nuanez, each month the theme for the exhibit will change and new paintings by a different group of students will replace the old. The theme for August will be “Birds of Prey.”
“It gives a little extra to the surroundings,” offered West High student/artist Stephanie Cormier who was working on restoring flowers on banners. “Since a lot of students come here, its good for them to see that students have actually created the artwork. We’ve added something to the educational experience.”
“I think it makes CALM look nicer because the art compliments the animals,” said Foothill High student/artist Lenaye Reyna, as she finished up a painting of the Kern River running through Hart Park. “Both contribute to the education of students because each tells a story.”
Inside the meeting and school room areas of CALM’s main building, the story of the animals is being told even further through full length landscapes painted directly on the walls. It represents another student project in which Nuanez was commissioned. One room is painted to look like a forest, giving students the illusion they are sitting in a forest while they work. Among others there is a marsh with ducks in flight.
“Seeing the animals at CALM only tells part of their story,” Nuanez said. “These landscapes allow visitors to see the natural environment in which they normally dwell. It reminds everyone that art is everywhere - be aware of your surroundings.”
Print This Page Email This Page