Going out with a bang…and a song…and a poem…

Fresh Eyes has come to a close with remarkable work from FreshArts students. Each discipline brought forward unique interpretations of John Clement’s artwork stemming from a collaborative learning experience in the gallery.

Blogger’s note: Below are the descriptions written by FreshArts teachers about the experience and the work. – LT


LT Shen JC Dance FA - 10

“Students in this rotation of FreshArts Dance had the incredible opportunity to visit the exhibit “Fresh Eyes” by John Clement in the Shen Gallery on Monday, October 6th.  Along with the FreshArts Theater class and led by Liz Titone, the students were asked to look at the sculptures from multiple angles, viewpoints, and perspectives, truly awakening their “fresh eyes.” In another exercise, the ninth graders were asked to look at specific sculptures and complete the sentences, “I see…..”, I think……” and “I feel…….”  Their associations ranged from “blood”, “rage”, “earth”, “plants”, “confusion”, “love” to “mac and cheese”, and everything in between. – Mandy Stallings


Dance – [Students] talked about the emotion that sculptures convey and how that relates to dance. The students then headed to the dance studio, and with Clement’s idea of “curvi-linear” composition, they spent the next eight classes creating their own original dance pieces inspired by their favorite Clement sculptures from around the world. As the students danced, projections of Clement’s signature pieces swirled behind them, creating a thoughtful and poignant dance performance on 10/20. – Ms. Stallings (continued from the description above)

See the full Picasa album here.

Theater – Using words jotted down during the gallery session, students arranged the terms into different formations around the stage. Words were then separated into different categories:  descriptors, themes, and objects. The class was split into three groups, and each group received a small pile of words. They then created a story that came to life for them, based on those words. Stories were polished and theatrical elements (tableau, songs, unison movement, etc) added in preparation for presentation. – Jen Nails

KR FreshArts JC

Visual Arts – The VA section of FreshArts, “2-dimensionalized” the sculpture through line drawings. The drawings were made by using three pencils at a time, starting the arm moving and then seeing where the process took you. – Ken Rush

Music – The music experience was explore and learn the basic chord progressions while creating melodic and rhythmic patterns, then students needed to connect all the parts together according to musical form, the final piece is a form of a ballad, like a story starting with the beginning, the development, and the ending recap.

After we visited John Clement’s work, students came up with few descriptive words, such as dense, open, shadow, circular motions but irregular, opposite, crazy, cold, colorful, different characters in a story, season of Summer, love, and smooth but edges.

Students discussed how they combined and inspired to make music by these descriptive words that they came up after their experiences with the sculptures.  – Esther Liu Harris


The swirls and curls of these mysterious things
Looked to me like wedding rings.
These curves swirled around me like a gurgling stream,
It seemed to be a very common theme.
As the tubes fused together to create whatever they wanted to be,
It all merged, it was plain to see.
I saw towering waves and ramen noodles from the cup,
There was spiraling greenery and flames spurting up.
It became apparent to me how amazing it was
That this simplicity could have so much creativity.
– Ben Crane


Public Speaking – The experience in the gallery directly informed the pieces the students worked on during the remainder of the rotation. The writing they did there – often in the form of just words or phrases jotted down – are now being used as the springboard for a variety of public presentations. Students have crafted poems, sonnets, acrostics, narrative pieces, and reviews for presentation. – Mimi Stauber

Digital Media – Students created movies inspired by six word short stories that are informed by the artwork of John Clement. Gallery discussions allowed students to explore positive and negative space, sound, color, rhythm,  and  composition.  Zach Lobel and Leo Gallagher’s film on John Clement served as inspiration to the filmmakers as they discussed the importance of B-roll in the documentary style and connections to narrative film, noting the importance of shot selection and editing to tell a story. – Michael Miller

See the films here.


John Clement’s Residency in photos

EE JC Residency

On 10.22.14 John Clement visited Packer for the second installment of his residency. Here are a few snapshots from the day.


US Visual Arts inquiry with Mr. Rush

LT JC residency 4

LT JC residency 3


Q & A with the 3rd grade

LT JC residency 1 LT JC residency 2


Kindergartners learning about and TOUCHING THE ART with the artist!


Discussing physics with Mr. Williams 

EE Williams


Laying the foundation for collaboration with Ms. Stalling’s class

EE Stallings


Little artists, big ideas

Shen JC K edit - 1Shen JC K edit - 2

Kindergarteners came to the gallery with their eyes wide open and their curious minds prepared to explore John Clement’s sculptures. After roaming around the room collecting questions and observations, they came together as a group to share the knowledge they built with their eyes and minds. As a group they swapped insights and inquiry about the art making process before creating their own masterpieces. The ordinary (straight line; pipe cleaner) was transformed into the extraordinary (lively shapes; work of art) through the twisting and turning of inspired hands.

Sounds like a familiar process, Mr. Clement, doesn’t it?


KMG 3During his residency in October Mr. Clement visited with Ms. Montero and Ms. Greenblatt’s class. The class blog tells a story of an amazing morning had by all:

“The Kindergarten Seahorses walked across the garden to our on-campus art gallery to view John Clement’s art show entitled, “Fresh Eyes.”  Students were invited to wander around the Carol Shen Gallery and talk with John Clement.  The artist shared that he has always been really interested in shapes, particularly circles.  He explained his artistic process: making sketches, clay models, and finally large scale steel sculptures.  To the students delight, he invited them to touch his work.  After exploring the gallery, John Clement invited our students to draw something inspired by his work.  The students found a comfortable spot near a favorite sculpture and set to work drawing these colorful designs.  Students said that John’s work reminded them of roller coasters, snails, tornados, and hurricanes.”

Light, and the absence thereof, creates line (and other observations)





                                        and Form

As an exhibition, Fresh Arts embodies each of these artistic characteristics beautifully. Observational drawing exercises of Clement’s sculptures provided fifth and sixth grade visual artists with an opportunity to strengthen their skills in each of these areas. Students studied the “shadow drawings” created by the heft of metal under lights that were strategically placed to “draw” attention to their arcs and curves of the sculpture. They noted tonality in monochromatic objects through shading and palette design. Artful compositions were formed as students selected areas to feature in their drawings. The combined efforts of looking, rendering and personalizing helped bring students deeper into the artwork and themselves as artists.

Moving through space

We are midway through the exhibition cycle and the conversations around Fresh Eyes continue to blossom and thrive. Students of all ages have been engaging with the artwork through a variety of entry points. A previous post on this blog highlighted a few efforts across the departments and divisions. The list of inspired collaborations is growing daily, each item adding to the richness of the learning experience for the community as a whole.

Two new entries must be added to this impressive tally:


Upper School students accompanied Ms. White to the gallery to utilize the artwork as a launching point for inquiry. Together we defined and answered the following essential questions that link sculpture and movement:

  • If the body is inherently sculptural given its 3-dimensionality, how does the viewer perceive the form? How does its placement affect the experience?

  • How do we (the viewers) know what part of the body or sculpture is the front or the back?

  • Is scale governed by emotion, size or impact?

Visual Arts and Physical Education – a combined effort

Third grade movers and thinkers studied Mr. Clement’s sculptures for clues on basic principles of balance, shape and light to inform the process of creating their own public art installations.

Creating *sometimes* balanced sculptures with bodies and PE materials

Connecting shapes and shadows through quick observational sketches

New beginnings. New interpretations. Fresh Eyes.

Shen JC 4th edit - 01Shen JC 1st edit - 7

On Friday September 26th, John Clement installed the last pieces of his exhibition, Fresh Eyes in the Carol Shen Gallery. A buzz of excitement could be felt throughout the halls and in the classrooms. “When’s the opening?” and “What’s going on in the Shen? It looks amazing up there!” were the ubiquitous refrains of students, faulty and parents.

This past week students from the 4/5’s to freshman visited the exhibition to interpret simple concepts made complex through art. Here are a few highlights:


Physical Education

Lower School students built on foundation concepts such as shape (4/5’s), line (1st grade) and energy (2nd grade) with their bodies in the gallery AND then in the gym.

Next up: 3rd graders consider “balance” as a design concept and a sometimes precarious body skill.

Quote of the day: “Look! I am a moving sculpture!”

Visual Art

Fourth grade artists combined geometry concepts with the sculptor’s challenge to provide 3 dimensional viewer engagement in a mock design project. Each student sketched out their vision for a sculpture that alters, yet remains true to, one of three geometric shapes (circle, square or triangle). Students quickly figured out that they could break down the form into sub forms, e.g. square to rectangles, smaller squares or triangles.

After breaking down Mr. Clement’s shapes from circle to spiral to line, first graders transformed the linear shape of the pipe cleaners to magnificent works of art, alive with motion and originality.


Using John Clement’s artwork as a launching point for inspiration, students entered this rotation of FreshArts with a primer in the language and communication skills needed to express personal vision and point of view.






Watch this space for updates, additional photos and new blog posts