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The Masters Remastered - from The Messenger

November 23, 2015


Duncombe Elementary and the Blanden Memorial Art Museum are making art together.

The elementary's fourth-grade art students were given two-by-two foot panels with tracings of works from the museum's permanent collection to color and recreate.

The panels include works by Marc Chagall, Grant Wood, and Wassily Kandinsky, as well as depictions of some of the musuem's three-dimensional works.

"We let them have their own interpretation of colors and stuff like that," Hope Thier, Blanden art educator, said. "We just wanted them to have fun with it."

The fourth-graders are excited to be participating in the project, Cindy Ayala, Duncombe instructor, said.

"They got to visit the Blanden before we started, and so they got to see some of these actual pieces that were on display," Ayala said. "Not all of the permanent collection is on display. Some of it is in the vault. They got to see some, and they're really excited to take part in something that's going to be on display for the whole community."

According to Thier, the collaboration was inspired by Doug Brightman, Blanden Memorial Art Museum board president.

"He used to be a fourth-grade teacher at Duncombe for many years," she said.

The museum already was having conversations about community involvement, Thier said.

"When we heard the school is going to be coming over (to the Fair Oaks Middle School building), we were trying to figure out how to engage with the students there," she said.

The completed panels will be displayed on the chain link fence that runs along South 10th Street, between the Fair Oaks building and the Blanden.

Once the students are finished, the 20 panels will be returned to the Blanden volunteers who did the outlines.

"Those volunteers will come in and redo the drawings, just to touch them up so you can see the black lines," Thier said. "And then (Fort Dodge) Ford will actually be clearcoating them."

The students benefit from the project in many ways, Ayala said.

"It opens a lot of doors for the students to see the visual arts in areas other than what they see in their own artwork, and just to see how other artists express themselves," she said.

The museum, too, appreciates being able to collaborate with the Duncombe students.

"It's great because we incorporate those who have a long- standing involvement with the Blanden with those who might be just starting out," Thier said, "and having it be something they treasure and show their families and can be proud of, and it will be standing for those to see in the public."

Art education is important, Ayala said.

"I have a lot of students who really excel in the arts, and the other subjects might be a little more difficult for them, or it's just not the way they normally express themselves," she said, "so I think it really keeps a lot of kids in school."

The Duncombe students will finish the panels this week and, according to Thier, the art will be displayed at the start of December.

"The masters remastered" The Messenger 23 Nov 2015: A1

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