"Using Middle America as her muse, Kowch draws the history of a particular place -- invariably rural -- to the surface as it collides with a new reality in layers of metaphor and moodiness. The faces of her women may remind you of characters in a Tim Burton film."
--Steve Parks, Newsday

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Back. . .

During the course of this past month, I had the opportunity to give back to a person near and dear to me – Warren Mott High School art teacher, Mrs. Terri Dworkin.
Terri and I standing next to Warren Mott's new masterpiece.

Just part of the crowd that came to see what the buzz was all about.

Terri has been teaching art in public schools for a whopping 45 years, and is now retiring (or so we think!). Three years ago, she began forming what has now come to be the Warren Mott Art Gallery, a commemorative gallery featuring the work of prominent Warren Mott alumni dating back to the time of the school’s opening in the early 70s to the present, who have gone on to become working artists still practicing their craft today. Terri has worked tirelessly, researching and tracking down all past alumni to donate works of art. The response was immense, the gallery was born, and the high school now has devoted the entire wing to the art department as a result. Since the gallery was established in 2005, Terri held a grand opening and open houses that have garnered the press, and where members of the Warren community have been coming to gather with various alumni to embrace art and its vital role in the community as a whole. This is an art teacher who truly makes a mark.
Terri working on her contribution to the mural.
Posing for the cameras with Terri's colleague, WMHS art teacher Elena Fernandez and Terri's student teacher, Mallory Champine; two great ladies who stayed late with me those Monday nights helping to pull it all together.

Along with this mural, many hours of preparation went underway for a final major celebration, which kicked off this past Wednesday, known as Art Bash 2008. People from all over came to view the recent gallery acquisitions, as well as celebrate Terri’s retirement. This mural will be a priceless asset to both Terri’s legacy as a teacher, as well as to the community, who will have it to enjoy for generations to come. It was a true honor for me to give back to both Terri and the local art community in such a way by directing this, and working with fellow artists, art students – and even some of the school’s administrators who searched their artistic side and contributed. The mural’s unveiling to the public at the celebration this past Wednesday was certainly a wonderful moment. I’m not alone in giving thanks and kudos to Terri for everything she’s done in helping shape me and countless others into the artists we all wanted to become. Her relentless passion, wisdom, and gift for teaching will always be something we’ll carry with us, and we all look forward to seeing what she’s going to do next. Listed below is the official release and the names of all who contributed:

The Artists
By Artists-2008

One of the most delightful new acquisitions of the Warren Mott Art Gallery is the artists. Conceived and coordinated by Andrea Kowch, BFA Illustration, College for Creative Studies 2008, the artists is an 80” X 80” mural on the wall that is adjacent to the entrance of Art Room, 131. The mural depicts 9 giants of the art world (Dali, Gauguin, Monet, Kahlo, Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, da Vinci, and Warhol), walking down a corridor. The mural is divided into 20 individual canvases. Each canvas has been completed by an artist affiliated with Warren Mott either as a former student or as a member of its faculty. Individually the canvases are unique and memorable, but as a whole, the collective efforts prove that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each canvas was developed in the contributing artist’s medium of choice and then reassembled to create this gestalt.

The canvases are identified by the contributing artists from left to right, four across, in each of five rows, as follows:

1. Trish Stone, Physics teacher WMHS
2. Anne Marie Lange, 2007
3. Colleen Spanke, 2002
4. Cathy Neuhoff, Assistant Principal, WMHS, North House
5. Mallory Champine, Student Art Teacher, 2008
6. Arlene Bugeaud Mylenek, 1973
7. Lynne Spanke, 2003
8. Jim Eagan, 1975
9. Stephanie Sucaet, 1999
10. Billy o’Bryan, 1972
11. Adrianne Baranowski, 2002
12. Jeanine Brackenbury, 2002
13. Rich Mylenek, 1973;
14. Trisha Szalach Kniffen, 1973
15. Elena Fernandez, Art teacher WMHS
16. Colleen McBride, 2010
17. Tom Conrad, 2003
18. Karen Pipesh Porter, 1986
19. Salam Yousif, Ell tutor, WMHS
20. Terri Dworkin, Art Teacher WMHS
21. Andrea Kowch, Mural Director and Pole Decorator.

A multitude of photos documenting this huge project from start to finish (as seen below) with captions can be viewed on Flickr here. There's lots to see. Enjoy, and THANK YOU to all who helped, contributing their time, energy, and artistic genius to make this all happen. We did it!

WMHS Class of '03 grad, and my fellow College for Creative Studies alum, Tom Conrad having a blast helping us paint the pole.
Tom working on his piece for the mural.
Trisha (WMHS '73) and I prepping the canvases for the mural on the first night of the project.
**Update: The project and event ended up making front page of the Sunday Edition of The Macomb Daily Newspaper. The article can be read online here.

1 comment:

Stephanie Limon said...

oh this looks like so much fun! I wish I would have gone to the opening!