As we approach the last few days of Pamela Weir-Quiton’s “Made to Play” exhibition, the Craft in America Center made sure it invited as many people as possible to view these wooden creatures before they went away. The Center received an influx of people over the Thanksgiving weekend, and once classes resumed, two separate class visits from Fairfax Magnet Center for Visual Arts on Wednesday afternoon.
The students that visited the exhibition were from Ms. Youngblood’s Ceramic classes and they varied from 9th-12th grade. Because of the proximity of the school, we were able to shuttle two classes, each one consisting of about 26 students. Both classes were lively, but initially demonstrated reservations when given the option to speak to the artist. The challenge with high school students is they love to talk to their friends and classmates, but shy away from adults; the center can go from an atmosphere of animated conversations to crickets in less than 5 seconds once an adult asks a questions pertaining to the subject matter at hand. Our education coordinator takes advantage of the silence in order to ask them relatable questions: “what work of art stood out to you and why?” “who has worked in these materials before, who would like to learn more about wood?” If all else fails, we hand pick a person to speak and then they must speak! Worry not, we do no coerce the students into talking; they always have something to say, they just need a little encouragement.
And then there are the outspoken students who are thirsty for more information. Our most inquiring students were the seniors who are interested in learning what different subject matters can positively affect their career choices. Although we always have the question “how much does it cost?” we also received pertinent questions like “where did you study? how did you decide to become a woodworker?” The answers to these inquiries are always varied and give the students positive insights to follow their own creative and academic musings.
By then end of the visit, several students surrounded Pamela to ask her their questions and take photos with her. They enjoyed her company so much their teacher had to repeatedly ask them to make their way to the bus before they were late.