The Gordon School has announced that a collaboration between its 6th grade class and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum has culminated with five student artists’ work displayed at an exhibition at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Eliza Dineen of Cranston was one of the five chosen to exhibit.
“In my artwork you will find yourself looking at a Saguaro Desert. In the painting there is a sun. The sun is always with you,” said Dineen. “Every day when you wake up to go to school or work it’s a symbol of a new start. Hopefully someday I will look at the sun while sitting on a white sand beach in Hawaii.”
“At Gordon, teachers are always on the lookout for opportunities to create cross-curricular connections, as my colleague Amy Cohen in the art department and I have with this particular project,” said Susan Reenan, Dineen’s teacher for 6th grade humanities.
“Our partnership with RISD offers students like Eliza a chance to explore an extraordinary local resource that both informs them about the world in which they live and challenges them to engage with that world as fellow writers and artists,” said Reenan.
“We are so honored that the work of Gordon students was included in this national exhibition, and we are thrilled to be working with RISD again this year as we re-imagine together what year three of this joint endeavor can offer our current batch of Gordon sixth graders,” said Reenan.
Gordon’s exhibit was based on a Poetry & Impressionism teaching unit inspired by a 2016-2017 RISD Museum exhibit entitled Inventing Impressionism, which explored the movement from its origin at the Paris exhibit in the spring of 1874 and featured the innovative work of impressionists including Monet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Morisot and Degas.
This cross-curricular unit paired students’ study of poetry in their humanities class with their study of painting in art class, allowing students to connect the way figurative language works to create the imagery of a poem in the same way that color and brush strokes combine to create a painting. On their visit to the RISD Museum, each student selected a different object from the collection. Students then composed poems inspired by their chosen works of art and re-imagined the imagery they used to depict the pieces from the RISD Museum to create original paintings of their own.
“We are so proud of our incredibly talented artists,” said Dr. Noni Thomas López, Head of School, Gordon School, in a press release. “This collaboration with the RISD Museum, which stemmed from a cross-curricular teaching unit, represents the creative way our faculty approaches education at Gordon and just one of many unique opportunities our students have the chance to experience.”