Fresh Artists Brings A Fresh Take on Fresh Flowers
K-12 Children’s art blooms at the 2014 Flower Show
Philadelphia, February 27, 2014 – Fresh Artists, a Philadelphia-based, award-winning nonprofit empowering K-12 children as philanthropists delivering art supplies and innovative programming to severely underfunded public schools, has engaged 600 Philadelphia-area public school students in an innovative two-part high-profile project for this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show, “Articulture.”
“Fresh Artists and leaders in education, horticulture, art, and the community laid the groundwork for children to participate in this year’s Flower Show. And look what they’ve done with it. Their art is a major gift of beauty and energy that we hope will be a part of every future Flower Show.”
~ Barbara Chandler Allen, President, Fresh Artists
Part One: Fresh Artists Partners with Major Exhibitor, Flowers by David:
Student artwork created as part of a partnership between Fresh Artists Sprout Studio and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Delphi After School Art Club, is boldly integrated into Flowers by David’s Major Exhibit entry, “Out on a Limb.”
Flowers by David’s Robin and David Heller describe their exhibit:
“A child’s imagination, like a tree grows from seeds planted many years ago. Once planted and nurtured the seeds take root, growing into a strong trunk and thick branches. Branches of wonder, color, and surprise for the child to play under, splashing through pools of water, and climbing high among the leaves and flowers, imagination is endless. Imagination is the fiber in the fabric of inspiration. Imagination, like a tree grows upward into the sky reaching for the stars.”
Award-winning veteran Flower Show exhibitors, Flowers by David, invited Fresh Artists to bring children’s artwork into their design for the Major Exhibits Section of the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show, “Articulture.” Fresh Artists partnered with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Delphi After School Club to work with 240 4th-8th grade students from six Philadelphia middle schools to create enormous flower-filled graphics. Under Robin and David Heller’s design direction, Flower Show designer Sam Lemheney, the Delphi After School Art Club teaching artists, and the participating students created six banners using floral and botanical motifs drawn from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Paintings, prints, textiles, sculptures and metal decorative screens provided inspiration for the brilliant 8” block prints that resulted. A long-time Flower Show stager, Roger Allen (Creative Director and Co-Founder of Fresh Artists), digitally enlarged the students’ artwork to fabricate the enormous, colorful graphic banners used in the Heller’s exhibit design. The children’s botanical-themed banners amplify the dynamic floral displays, dripping off the graphics to connect with the exuberant burst of flowers and foliage below.
The Philadelphia public schools and their Delphi Teaching Artists represented in this project are:
- AMY Northwest – Diane Pieri & Doris Rogers
- Blaine Academics Plus School – Cecelia Dougherty & Roslyn Don
- Juniata Park Academy Middle School – Diane Piere & Doris Rogers
- Mastery Charter School – Shoemaker Campus – Cecelia Dougherty & Roslyn Don
- Middle Years Alternative School – Cecelia Dougherty & Stephanie Rowley
- Russell Byers Charter School – Diane Piere & Tad Sare
The Delphi After School Art Club is a weekly comprehensive arts education program held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Each year, up to 240 middle school level students in the School District of Philadelphia participate in the program. The students tour the Museum’s galleries and create their own works of art inspired by the Museum’s collection. In addition to weekly studio art classes and gallery tours, the program includes a student art exhibition, a cultural performance, conservation demonstrations, and a collaborative community art project. The Delphi Art Club focuses on both the creative and academic aspects of visual arts, and most importantly, provides students with a safe and inspiring place to gather after school.
Robin, David and all the kids were thrilled to receive the Big People’s Award – meaning it was the overall winner of the entire week, chosen by people attending the Flower Show! Woooo Hooo!
After all is said, painted, carved, printed and DONE……it’s about the flowers. Here are some exquisite sunflowers waiting to become part of the Heller’s stunning explosion and exploration of color.
Artist/philanthropist Noel Gonzales, Grade 5, Alliance for Progress Charter School, after Adolphe Borie, Still Life with a Vase of Flowers, Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
We played with our theme of the Fresh Artists Mobile Museum of Mini-Masterpieces by placing all of the children’s artwork into “real” gold frames!
Fresh Artists Studio family, Becky, Dorian, Barbara, and our newest staffer, Sara Hendrix (FA’08, artist-philanthropist) is now our Studio Assistant, and was responsible for cataloging the Fresh Flowers Project!
SEPTA dedicated one entire bus to our Mobile Museum of Mini-Masterpieces….covered in 33 of the strongest children’s artwork. The bus will be in service for a whole year! Thank you, SEPTA and Titan! An art teacher in the Philadelphia schools, Beanie Feighan-Drach, had an idea to have the art of her school cover a SEPTA bus. SEPTA was intrigued, but felt they couldn’t invest that kind of money and attention on just one school, but liked her inventive idea. Beanie approached Fresh Artists to help her figure out a way to bring her idea to life. Fresh Artists spoke to SEPTA and pitched the idea to tie the decoration of a bus to the Philadelphia FLower Show, a major initiative each year of SEPTA. The project had to be opened up to all schools and kids, to maximize the impact and …VOILA! We were off. A comprehensive exhibition of ALL children’s entries was added in Market East, making every child a “winner”. Thanks, Beanie, for a brilliant idea that turned out to be a smash success for hundreds of kids and hundreds of thousands of people who will see the children’s artwork over the entire region, for an entire year!
Yes, this picture is upside down. We wanted to show you the “Rembrandt” on the ceiling… that’s what SEPTA calls artwork on the ceiling of the bus!
Here’s one of the sides of the Mobile Museum!
“Makin’ my own masterpiece makes me feel like I’m friends with Matisse. Like I know him. He would like this, I think. He’d be proud
And here is the “tail” of the bus… with 8th grade Jenks student,Faruq Robinson’s artwork, his interpretation of Peter Paone’s “Peacock”. Mr. Paone gave the children in the Fresh Artists Fresh Flowers Studio his permission to make interpretations of his beautiful artwork.
How about this splendid interpretation of Matisse’s “Flower Piece” from the Philadelphia Museum of Art…as interpreted by a kindergartener in the Chester-Upland School District!
Master Art teacher Robyn Miller, running Fresh Artists Studio at Jenks Elementary School with her talented 5th grade students.
More than 360 kids from 18 public schools participated in our Call for Entries for the Fresh Flowers Project. Many of the kids came to SEPTA’s press reception and their pride abundant! The project was a big hit!
Art teachers brought their students to the SEPTA reception – everyone had fun hamming it up with Fresh Artists “frames”! Here is Art teacher Deva Watson with two of her students from the Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School.
Young 5th grader tackled the interpretation of Charles Demuth’s unfinished “Gladiolus”
Here is Faruq working on Paone’s Peacock.
Look where his artwork landed! The prime real estate – The coveted “tail” of the bus – the most prominent location! Congratulations, Faruq.
In addition to completely covering the inside and outside of a SEPTA bus, SEPTA invited Fresh Artists to do a “welcome the the Flower Show” set piece in Market East Train Station. We understand that more than 200,000 people came through this station and saw the children’s artwork during the 10 day Flower Show!
Young artist Brianna, having some photo fun!
Major donors to Fresh Artists, Hoagie and Evelyn Bock, wouldn’t miss this fun. Thank you to Evelyn who’s students at Jenks worked very hard for weeks on the artwork project, then helped hang the exhibition. Thank you, Bocks! We love you!
Howard (left) and Jerri (red vest) join Sara Hendrix and Barbara Allen checking out the premiere of the Fresh Artists Mobile Museum of Mini-Masterpieces. Howard and Jerri took great care of us during the planning and installation of this ambitious program. Thank you both!
Thank you to our FA Art Teacher Council installation crew, Evelyn Bock (retired, Henry ES), Robin Heller (Flowers by David), Judy Finestone (retired from Lingleback ES), and Robyn Miller (retired art teacher, Hancock ES).
Joe Baldino (SEPTA DIrector of Center City Stations) and Liz Bradford (SEPTA Director of Marketing) with FA co-counder, Roger Allen. Note the red laser line! Roger was installing the children’s artwork on the “gallery” SEPTA built for us, behind them! Thank you, Joe and Liz, for making this unprecedented project possible. It was one of the most exciting things that has happened to Fresh Artists and the kids we represent.
Judy Finestone installing the children’s artwork on the train station walls.
Kaylin being silly, but very cute!
Kids came to the Flower Show, thanks to the generosity of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society! The Art Museum and Delphi provided the busses, and PHS invited the children to be their guests to see their artwork in the world’s largest (and most important!) indoor flower show! Thank you PHS! You’re the best! This was HUGE!
The kids visited the Peter Paone loan exhibition at Woodmere Art Museum. Woodmere worked with Fresh ARtists to craft and carry out the Fresh Flowers project. Thanks to the docents for their terrific tours, and to Hildy Tow and Sara Mitchell, Education Department of Woodmere! Working with you is always a real pleasure.
We were careful to show the “real original” masterpieces from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and the Woodmere Art Museum.
Our new Studio Assistant, Sara, working hard to catalog and register every piece of art!
The kids thoroughly engaged with the artwork. Their work was often quite different from the original’s that they had “adopted”. Put a real personal spin on their task.
The 360 pieces of art really brightened up the Market East Train Station.
“I think SEPTA should make this a permanent part of the station. It’s fabulous, and fun to spend time here while I wait for my train.”
~ Florinda, Lansdale
Part Two: “Fresh Flowers” – Fresh Artists Mobile Museum of Mini-Masterpieces: Fresh Artists partnered with SEPTA and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to create “Fresh Flowers” – A Mobile Museum of Mini-Masterpieces”, an unprecedented initiative to turn a SEPTA bus into a rolling art museum of floral-themed children’s art.
Fresh Artists invited all K-12 children in public schools from Philadelphia, Norristown and Chester to adopt and interpret a famous floral still life from one of four Philadelphia art museums: the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Woodmere Art Museum, The Barnes Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. More than 350 entries were received, drawing inspiration from Cezanne, Peale, Matisse, Gauguin, and van Gogh, as well as contemporary still lifes by Peter Paone, Ellen Goodman, and Jimmy Leuders. Thirty-three of the children’s entries were selected to appear inside and outside on the Fresh Artists Mobil Museum, a SEPTA bus that will premiere outside the Convention Center at the opening of the Flower Show and then travel in-service throughout the city for the remainder of the year. In addition to the Mobile Museum, all of the children’s entries will be part of a Fresh Artists art exhibition at the Market East concourse during the ten-day Flower Show. Sixteen pieces of art have the added distinction of being invited to be part of Fresh Artists’ award-winning children’s art collection available for corporate installations, raising funds to deliver art supplies to under-funded public schools.
Evelyn Bock commented, “The confidence that comes from strong experiences in self-expression and experimentation cannot be overemphasized. This is especially true for children with learning differences and those who struggle with severe emotional challenges. Not every student excels in academics; we need to fight to keep innovative programs and experiences like Fresh Artists in our public schools.
Here are a few more comments from our students:
“Wish I could do this all the time. I’d make sure I was here every day. Never miss.”
and my all time favorite -
“A bus? A bus! You serious? They’d do that for kids? Can’t believe it. I can’t wait to see my art on a bus! On a BUS! You know how many folks’ll see my art!”
Fresh Artists is grateful to the following people and institutions who made these two innovative projects possible:
Philadelphia Museum of Art:
Barbara Bassett, Cur. of Educ.,School &Teacher Progs.
Teyona Jackson, Delphi After School Art Club Coord.
Suzannah Niepold, Museum Educator
Graydon Wood, Senior Museum Photographer
Elizabeth Bradford, Director of Marketing
Jerri Williams, Director of Media Relations
James Dellipriscoli, SEPTA Sr. Advertising Specialist
Jon Roche, Vice President/General Manager, TITAN
Joe Baldino, Director of Center City Stations
Fresh Artists Treasured Volunteers and Champions
Evelyn Bock, Art teacher, Fresh Artists Education Council
Blake D. Bradford, The Barnes Foundation, The Bernard C. Watson Director of Education
Rosemarie Fabien, Fabien Communications
Regina Feighan-Drach, Art teacher, Ziegler Elementary School
Robin and David Heller, Flowers by David
Sara A. Holloran, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Manager of School & Teacher Programs
Jason James, Eightyseven Dreams Design
Sam Lemheney, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Chief of Shows and Events
Robyn Miller, Art teacher, Fresh Artists Education Council
Sara Mitchell, Woodmere Art Museum, Associate Curator of Education
Lisa Stefano, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Senior Director of Marketing
Hildy Tow, Woodmere Art Museum, The Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Curator of Education