View From the Hill
No Ordinary Art ShowGlenaeon’s 60th Anniversary Art Exhibition
Our 60th Anniversary Art Exhibition opened last week just prior to our School Concert, showcasing student work from across the school in the Art Space at The Concourse. The quality of the work is outstanding, and I recommend all parents drop in over the remaining days (open until Sunday) to catch a glimpse of one facet of our school’s program. I tried to capture something of the unique ambience the exhibition displays in my words to open the show….
First let me apologize for this exhibition: it creates a problem for our school! Anyone walking in here would take one look at say, this is an Art school. But we are not. Just as anyone sitting in the audience at tonight’s concert will say, This is a Music school. And we are not. Just as anyone watching Year 10 hiking across Tasmania in the snow last week would say, This is an Outward Bound school. Yet we are not. Just as anyone seeing all of our Year 10 performing their Musical in Term 1 would say, This is a Musical Theatre school. And of course we are not.
We are none of these things, yet we are all of these things. We are a school offering an academic program with a Renaissance perspective, educating young human beings who will have all sides of their characters developed, ready to respond to the unpredictable demands of the century ahead in a creative manner.
Now something about Art: first, you will notice that the art works here on display have no name tags. This is deliberate. The works here on display are mostly the harvest of this year, chosen as representative samples of work for each year level. We wanted to display the art through the school, to give a picture of the journey that all students follow as they grow through each year level.
Second, something about the art itself, but not much. The great value of Art is that it goes beyond words, and is somehow more directly connected to life itself than the language that represents life. Art actually gives us another language, a language of feeling, of colour, of imagination, of perception. This exhibition offers a glimpse of this other language that our students acquire, a language higher than matter, a language of the “soul”, one that we “speak” when we are the highest we can be, the language that makes us most human.
So much of education today is about measurement: visible learning that is tracked and measured in very tangible terms. Rightly so! We must track progress in learning as exactly as we can: does a Class 1 student know their letter-sound correspondences, can a Class 4 student simplify an improper fraction, in Science can a Year 7 student identify key characteristics of acids and bases, can a Year 8 student write an essay with four paragraphs each beginning with a topic sentence? These measures are essential to healthy academic growth and we assess and report them. They are the “physical body” of student learning, if I can use that expression. But this higher language of the soul is what gives meaning and purpose to the metrics. This is how we grow whole human beings with rich feeling lives that make it all worthwhile.
So I invite you to experience the journey hanging on these walls around us! Its an inner journey our students embark on when they start Kindergarten, a journey of the soul that will carry them all the way to Year 12 and out into the world of their destiny path. Here is just one facet of the Glenaeon journey, a Renaissance journey that will resonate on for the rest of their lives.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Art teacher Alisan Smotlak who has carried the vision of this anniversary exhibition, devoting many hours to gathering, framing and hanging the art works you see around you. Alisan, thank you for this labour of love that we can all enjoy tonight and for the next two weeks. Special thanks to Michele Harris for bringing it to fruition, for assisting Alisan in all the preparation, and for publicizing and presenting the exhibition, a gift to us all.
So it’s a pleasure to be opening the show in this, Glenaeon’s anniversary year, and I invite you to enjoy the inner journey your children travel as they grow through the school.
This week I wrote to all parents outlining how we have begun our planning for the new Strategy that will guide the school over the next five years. We are inviting parents to a Strategy Planning session so that all stakeholders are involved. Please mark Wednesday August 23rd from 7 – 8.30pm in your calendars as the night to join us in this important next step in the school’s development. In World Café format, the session will be held in the Sylvia Brose Hall, Middle Cove campus.