PUTNEY -- Local artists and teachers Christie Herbert and Linda Whelihan have teamed up to create "Reading the Landmark Community: An Interactive Art Exhibit Written by Landmark Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni," which opens Saturday in Landmark College’s new Art Gallery with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m.
The exhibit runs through May 4 and is on view daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The artists will be on hand in the gallery on Tuesday, April 30, from noon to 2 p.m.
The exhibit is one of the community art projects Herbert, an Art Department faculty member at Landmark since 1986, is doing on her sabbatical. She collaborated with her friend and fellow artist and education Whelihan, on this exhibit, which examines issues at the core of Landmark’s educational mission.
"To be literate is to be able to be more confident and fluent in one’s ability to shape one’s world. As a college founded in 1985 for students with learning disabilities or learning differences, helping students become literate, whether it is verbally, socially, or visually, is at the core of what we do at Landmark. Accordingly, we framed our show around the theme or concept of the book, and drew on as many voices from the community as possible in shaping the exhibit," wrote Hebert. "To my mind, one of the primary roles that art can play is to bring people together in ways that promote interaction, reaction, and questioning. At a larger level, it is possible for art to strengthen a sense of both community and agency within communities. This exhibit seeks to explore precisely that potential."
To create the exhibit, Herbert surveyed students, staff and alumni, collecting their responses to five questions:
* What’s the most important thing you do or are doing at Landmark?
* How has Landmark changed you?
* Tell us something significant that happened in your life prior to coming to Landmark, and how that has contributed to the Landmark community.
* If we were able to take a picture of your brain that enabled us to see its true power and potential, what might we see?
* What three or four words best describe the Landmark community?
The artists received hundreds of responses that together painted a mosaic of images, words, stories, and observations. Then Herbert and Whelihan sifted and sorted the different perspectives and voices to create an exhibit that can be read in a variety of ways and that allow different ways for participants to enter and interact with the exhibit.
The panels along the upper wall of the gallery are each dedicated to showcasing some of the answers to three of the questions 1-3. Downstairs, two pieces work directly with the words people used to describe the Landmark community.
On the wall of the lower gallery are sticky Post-it notes with an array of responses to the first four questions. Exhibit-goers are invited to add to the wall by writing on the sticky notes provided. On pedestals and the floor in the main gallery space are pieces made by artist friends in response to specific quotes. There are pieces from artists from Australia, Missouri, North Carolina and Maine.
In the space to the right of main gallery, there are chairs and light from reading lamps, and exhibit-goers are invited to pick up a blank book and write responses to the show or whatever else they are inspired to write.
Herbert is a member of the art department at Landmark, and teaches ceramics. She is in the final semester of an MFA in Visual Art from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Whelihan is an artist/teacher who is committed to developing projects that strengthen community through shared dialogue and active engagement. She has a master’s of art education from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
For more information, visit landmark.edu.