“Art From a New Perspective: an exhibition of art by students from Beacon High School and The Walker School” is an amazing collection of nearly 200 works now on display until March 18 at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Arnheim Gallery. Students from the two schools have created an incredible array of painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, stained glass and mixed media.
“We have an amazing art program at Beacon High School which is led by Luke Bruffee who is a graduate of Mass Art," said Charlene Pontbriand, director of institutional advancement at Needham's Walker School. "And the work from the students has been so amazing and inspiring to people who have seen them, we decided to exhibit them.”
The Walker School, located in Needham, has provides special education and residential services to children, ages three to 13. Beacon High School is a co-educational, therapeutic, alternative high school located in Watertown. The school serves 60 students, ages 14–22, from the Greater Boston area and specializes in providing a challenging academic curriculum for students with strong academic potential who benefit from learning in a supportive community.
“It’s a different kind of school,” said Beacon High art teacher Luke Bruffee, one of the driving forces behind the exhibit. “A lot of these kids come here and it might be a last resort for them. I think our process is one of love, care and compassion. Then we try to fuse that with Massachusetts state curriculum standards.”
According to Bruffee, Mass Art’s Maureen Kelly was instrumental in helping the exciting exhibit come to fruition. Kelly sits on the Board of Directors of Walker and when a gallery opportunity came up, she immediately informed Bruffee. They applied to hold their show in the Arnheim and the proposal was accepted.
“The students were all really happy when I told them about it,” said Bruffee. “They do a lot of great things, but our school doesn’t have many spaces where we can actually display the pieces. With the gallery, people can see everything the students have done.”
The pieces on display celebrate emotions, creativity, determination and talent. From an enormous, colorful paper airplane hanging in from the gallery’s ceiling, to sewn garments that encourage the viewer to “try me on,” there’s something for everyone at this free exhibit.
“The projects are all based on the students’ own creativity,” Bruffee said. “I teach them research, sketching, concept development, education of the piece, critique and assessment. But we didn’t give them a theme for the show. We let them do what they wanted to do.”
“The work is really extraordinary,” says Walker Executive Director Richard W. Small. “Our students have worked so hard and I am thrilled that we have the opportunity to share some of the beautiful art created in our high school and elementary school programs.”