Patti Wenzel

MPS students open doors for Gallery Night

By - Apr 16th, 2010 04:00 am
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5th grade closeup. Photo courtesy of Troy Freund

Gallery Day and Night has become a tradition across Milwaukee to unveil and celebrate new artists and art. Tonight, some of Milwaukee’s newest and youngest artists will make their debut on scene at The Story School.

The exhibit will feature 5th, 6th and 8th grade student photography taken during a six-week Arts@Large residency program with Milwaukee photographer Troy Freund.

Over the past six weeks, each class studied historically significant photographers. The 5th graders viewed the close-up work of Edward Weston. The 6th graders examined what defines a superhero and the work of Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewdson. The 8th graders examined the portraits of Yusuf Karsh.

For Freund, this project wasn’t simply how to take pictures. That’s the easy part, especially with digital  point-and-shoot cameras. Instead he wanted the children to learn to pay attention to what they are seeing, to their surroundings, to what is going on.

“I wanted them to become more conscious in their photo taking,” Freund said. “I wanted them to know their frame, background and to just be aware.”

Freund said that awareness would not only translate into better pictures, but into better academics and social skills.

After Freund finished the history and awareness part of the lesson, he set the students lose to create photographs of their own in the style of the artists they studied. The fifth graders started out by taking pictures of objects around their classrooms and moved on to close-ups of themselves. Sixth graders created “superhero logos” and explored what behavior would be considered “everyday heroism.” One sixth grader even created the hero “Subject Assassin,” which set Freund and the teachers back, until the child explained that it represented someone who was very successful in his or her studies.

Sixth grade students studying heroes. Photo courtesy of Troy Freund

A Story School 8th grader envisions himself older in this portrait. Photo courtesy of Troy Freund

As for portraiture, one of the projects the 8th graders completed was to write an essay about their future selves, and to then take a picture of how they thought their future self would appear.

Freund said the students just took to the cameras and were experimenting from the first day with settings and exposures. Arts@Large supplied Canon and Kodak cameras for the project.

Troy Freund is a Milwaukee-based editorial/commercial/fine art photographer. He has served on the board of Artists Working in Education and has taught continuing education at Cardinal Stritch University for the past 10 years.  In addition to this Gallery Day and Night show, Freund has his own black and white photography show at Renaissance Theaterworks and will judge the “Taking It to the Streets” show at Light Ideas Gallery. Both venues are in the Third Ward.

Arts@Large is a Milwaukee-based non-profit that sponsors artist-in-residencies in Milwaukee schools, giving students positive experiences with local artists. The gallery show is one-night-only in the school library from 5:30-8 p.m. Freund will give a talk on the program at 7:30 p.m. The Story School is located at 3815 W. Kilbourn Ave in Milwaukee.

Categories: Art

0 thoughts on “MPS students open doors for Gallery Night”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This was an excellent venue. The photographs were wonderful and the presentation of the photos were very pleasing. I love the enthusiasm the kids showed toward such a positive activity. I would love to see more of this. Great presentation! Great work!

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