Our strategic priority of "Community as a Classroom" leads to explorations with the Wassaic Project

We are always thrilled to take advantage of the cultural resources within our area and create a space for our students to learn from local experts. Most recently, we began a partnership with the Wassaic Project, an artist-run non-profit organization that uses art to foster positive social change by providing equitable access to the arts. Through this collaboration, IMS art students this term will learn from emerging and established artists and also create their own art in various formats, from pencil drawings to short digital animations (GIFs).

Art can be an effective way to express complex feelings that aren’t easily put into words, and certainly this is a time in our world when emotions can run high. Jill Winsby-Fein, the Education Coordinator at the Wassaic Project says, “We want to be responsive. We may have an idea that we want to bring to a classroom, but we first want to meet the students to learn what they are interested in, what they respond to, and what they want to share.”

The first exercise that Winsby-Fein and Co-Executive Director Bowie Barnett-Zunino brought to our art students was “Dream Drawings,” developed by artist Maximilian Bode. In this exercise, students are asked to zone out or daydream for a few minutes, and then write down what they see in their unconscious mind. After that, they draw it. What the students create leads to further exploration through different artists and media. 

Many of the art lessons that students will explore through this collaboration were created by artists in residence at the Wassaic Project and serve as jumping-off points for classroom exercises. The lessons themselves are purposely open-ended, so that students will walk away from the experience inspired to dig deeper and continue their personal expression through art. 

Wassaic Project's Co-Executive Director Bowie Barnett-Zunino and Education Coordinator Jill Winsby-Fein