Connected \\ July 25, 2018
A.P. Art students respond to PEM
Every year, students from Beverly High School’s Advanced Placement Art course spend time in PEM's special exhibitions and permanent collection. They engage in guided discussions, respond creatively in the studios and continue to refer to what they see here when back in class.
To discuss a piece of art, or a selection of artwork at length with a group of peers is a very different experience from glancing at a piece of artwork. Instead of making a judgement and moving on, by allowing yourself to spend time with the art and hearing the thoughts of others, you unmask new levels of meaning that aren’t apparent at first glance. When asked about looking at artwork in person, a student named Damian answered that he gains the ability to understand the abstract. “To rip apart, and find the meaning and purpose of things.”
Student Sophie Pelletier explains how the tour informs her own artwork.
When I look at artwork in person, it is so much more meaningful. I can see the amount of effort and emotion put into each stroke of a paintbrush. I love looking at artwork from a variety of angles, which is impossible without the real piece in front of me.
The most exciting part of this partnership is the annual end-of-year exhibition that PEM hosts for the students to show off their work to their parents, their peers and the public. In some of the work, you can see direct visual references to the exhibitions. In other pieces, a connection might not be immediately obvious until you read the artist statement.
Students said that before visiting PEM with the class, they didn’t stop to fully appreciate art in museums.
“I used to be very particular and only use one drawing material and one style. After the PEM field trips I was able to go out of my comfort zone and be able to see different types and techniques of drawing,” said Naomi Weisman.
© 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert
Visiting the museum opened her eyes to the power of curation, said Mia Swenson.
Each exhibit is carefully and meticulously created. PEM is a true gem, one that is integral to the local art scene.