July 28, 2009

Portraiture at Forest Hills Cemetery

It has been hot and humid outside, but at the Summer Discoveries Program, we prefer that to rain. This morning, a group of 9th graders visited us for a tour and art project. Our focus was on portraiture. We walked around the cemetery and saw contemporary and traditional portraiture, and then they made self-portraits from wire. A good (if sweltering) time was had by all! They were also excited to spot the Great Blue Heron by Lake Hibiscus.

Here are some of the happy campers with their portraits:

A work in progress

Adding personality with pipe cleaners and beads

Group leaders love to participate too!

The teens and their chaperones asked great questions and enjoyed the walk, even though it was super hot outside. We made several stops on our tour, the first of which was contemporary sculpture Nightshirts by Leslie Wilcox. These five incredible and haunting sculptures are made of stainless steel screen and staples. They depict a Victorian family. One of the participants today pointed out that it was interesting that the artist chose to put these ghostly sculptures on living trees. Other students thought that the artist had done this to honor nature and the cycle of life. Every time we look at something here at Forest Hills, I feel like a student shares a new perspective that makes me look at the artwork differently. It is very refreshing!
We also visited the wonderful contemporary sculpture Sentinel by Fern Cunningham. The artist created this portrait to honor all of the strong women in her family. The teens liked how expressive she was, and how she was like a guardian for the cemetery.

Another highlight of the visit was seeing the Great Blue Heron by the lake. There's something really spellbinding about the bird's unusual shape, color, and size.

It was a wonderful visit with a great group. We're looking forward to more great weather and wonderful insights from our visitors.

Erica Smiley
Summer Discoveries Program

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