On May 3, Stream 7-2 went to the Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum as part of their Creative Writing elective. In class, students were taught how to make sculptures with various media including clay, wire, construction paper, among others, to connect to their personal narratives that the students wrote in class. The group made its way to Long Island City to view the exhibitions accompanied by Peter Wilson and Ms. Kumar before it became open to the public. At the museum, the class met with its sculpting instructor, Jory, who is a resident artist at the Socrates Sculpture Park. The class was given a tour lead by a tour guide.
The seventh graders were shown pieces of art in the museum in a way that was more liberated than the average museum tour. The students viewed sculptures, which included The Well, Night Portal and Brilliance, made by Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese-American artist. The students sketched what they saw and were told to interpret the sculpture in the way that they felt was appropriate. The guide did not tell students that their ideas were right or wrong which made the experience better for the students. The sculptures had an abstract look to them. Andreea R ’18, one of the students who attended the trip , said,“Somebody could interpret the art work based on their mood. If you are angry when you enter the museum the objects can seem to have gloomy atmosphere to them. If you are ecstatic the pieces will have a deeper meaning: one of calmness and understanding.”
The sculpture, The Well, was made of one solid rock with different textures and had water overflowing slowly, running through the crevices, reaching the base and coming back to the surface. Many of the students thought the piece communicated ideas of redemption before learning the inspiration for the piece.
The Socrates Sculpture Park was the second destination for the class that day. Once a landfill, the park is now the destination for free activities for the Queens community and a work place for resident artists. On site there is a workspace in which artists, seeking recognition, make long lasting sculptures to be viewed in the park. The exhibitions vary by season. The current exhibition, which opened on May 12, was inspired by an artists’ how-to book, do it (outside) which was compiled by various artists. Resident artists were asked to interpret an entry in the book and set up their pieces to reflect it.
Other activities that are offered in the park range from yoga to an international film festival. All activities are free due to the desire for a place to revitalize Long Island City.
The students who visited the museum and park enjoyed the experience and vowed to come again.