Department of Art Education‘s Dr. Ann Rowson Love’s Spring 2016 Visitor-Centered Exhibitions class collaborated with the National Art Education Association FSU student chapter, the FSU Art Therapy Association, and the Florida Art Therapy Association to deliver a weekend enriched with art appreciation and community art making.
On Friday, September 24th, the artist reception for the Visitor-Centered Exhibitions class’ exhibition, Uprooting & Rerouting: Origins, Journeys, Identity, took place. Guests were given the opportunity to meet and interact with featured New Orleans-based artist, Gina Phillips, and discuss about her artwork included in the show.
Uprooting & Rerouting: Origins, Journeys, Identity is inspired by themes in Gina Phillips’ art that speak to the universal experience of transition. The impact of memory and relationships on personal identity is evident throughout the featured artwork, and the exhibit strives to reveal how these ideas manifest in narratives of change.
Many of Phillip’s artworks depict scenes from her childhood in rural central Kentucky. Cornstalks, country landscapes, family, and friends appear as memories merged with present experiences. Her nostalgic narratives remind viewers that we never truly leave behind people and places from our past. She explores the New Orleans landscape and the community around her through imagery inspired by locations and friends that have impacted her life. After her home and neighborhood were hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, her art became focused on the aftermath of change in new ways. In larger-than-life portraits and magical landscapes, Phillips delves into the world around her and reveals that the present affects us as much as our past.
Regarding the reception, Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Exhibitions (MEX) master’s student Morgan Szymanski stated:
The night was perfect! My family and friends came up to see the show. Their support and interest was so heartwarming. My coworkers at the Museum of Florida History came out to support me as well. I am so proud of what my class accomplished and thrilled that everyone in my life was able to see all of our hard work!
The following morning, September 24th, Gina Phillips conducted an artist workshop. During the event, participants were instructed to create a community tree based on and inspired by the trees in Phillips’ artwork. Regardless of artistic background, everyone played an important role in creating the different parts of the group community tree, including their very own “memory drops.” The tree can be found on display in the William Johnston Building Room 3002.
MEX doctoral student Jessie Spraggins Rochford, who led a talking circle during the workshop, stated the following about her experience over the weekend:
I really enjoyed Gina Phillips’ workshop. The art making was fun, and I learned a new technique with using oil pastels as a wax resist with the watercolor paint. It was pretty amazing to see how all our individual pieces came together to create a cohesive image of trees and memory drops at the end of the workshop. The workshop also inspired several ideas for my work as an art therapist. Several of the other art therapists who attended the workshop also found it both fun and applicable to their work. In fact, they told me several days later that they used this activity with an art therapy group for children with medical concerns and it went really well. I’m really thankful I had the opportunity to work with and learn from Gina Phillips, and I appreciate the support from the FSU Art Education department, the FSU Art Therapy Association student chapter, the National Art Education Association student chapter, the Florida Art Therapy Association, and Dr. Ann Rowson Love for helping make this workshop a possibility.