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J. Paul Getty Museum Launches 2015 Community Photoworks Project
LOS ANGELES – Thirty-five high school students from Ánimo Venice Charter School have recently begun work with artist Christine Nguyen as part of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Community Photoworks program.
For the tenth year in a row, the Museum is partnering with a working artist and the non-profit arts and writing center 826LA to introduce students to photography and involve them in a creative process. With Nguyen and 826LA volunteers as their guides, Ánimo Venice students will develop projects that push the boundaries of the medium of photography, as inspired by artists whose work is exhibited in Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography, opening this month at the Getty Center.
Light, Paper, Process features photographs that extends our understanding of the medium, using light sensitivity and chemical reactions – with or without cameras or film – to reinvent photography. The artists in the exhibition employ an emphatically hands-on approach to their materials, challenging us to see the medium anew.
Under Nguyen’s guidance, the students will create cyanotypes, gathering objects that they will expose to light on photo-sensitive paper. The cyanotype process was invented in 1842. A sheet of paper is brushed with solutions of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide and dried in the dark. The object to be reproduced (plant, shell, etc.) is placed upon the sensitized sheet in direct sunlight. After a 5-10 minute exposure, an impression is formed, white where the light has not penetrated, on a blue ground. The paper is then washed in water, where oxidation produces the brilliant blue (cyan) that gives the process its name.
For Nguyen, a Los Angeles-based artist, the project is an opportunity to pass on to a new generation the passion for art that made such a difference for her as an adolescent. “Art helped me get through high school. We moved a lot and I went to three different high schools. Art was my escape, something to focus on,” she says.
Like many of the students, she grew up in a working class family, with parents who didn’t go to museums. The project is a way to reach beyond traditional museum and gallery goers to engage new audiences – and to involve students who have fewer and fewer opportunities for arts education in the schools. “I really hope they will notice things in their environment they may never have noticed,” says Nguyen. “I hope they enjoy making art, which has always been a meditative, positive experience for me.”
In addition to their hands-on work in creating cyanotypes, students will work with staff from the Getty Museum’s Education department and 826LA volunteers to prepare their artworks and write artist statements. They will also tour the Light, Paper, Process exhibition with Getty curators Virginia Heckert and Mazie Harris and interview Nguyen about her work.
“This project will help students connect the entire process of art-making -- from interviewing a practicing artist to receiving a guided tour of a museum photo show to producing work,” said Ánimo Venice Charter High School art teacher John Kannofsky. “They will have the opportunity to go beyond digital image-making, with which they are quite familiar, to work with images using natural media and new techniques.”
For the Getty, Community Photoworks creates an opportunity to closely engage students with the collection and the creative process. “It helps us ensure that future generations enjoy responding to works of art and creating art of their own,” says Elizabeth Escamilla, acting head of the Museum’s Education department. “The students love creating their own work, and take pride in having it on view in their community.”
Students will be visiting the Getty and working with the artist and volunteers in their classroom throughout the months of April and May, culminating in an exhibition of students work on May 27, 2015.
For more information about Community Photoworks, and to observe the students and artist at work, contact Julie Jaskol at 310-440-7607 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.
The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum’s mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.
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