Staff: George Ratkevich - Visual Art Program Coordinator Lindsay Appleby - art teacher, Marshall Simonds Middle School Sarah Baldwin - art teacher, Marshall Simonds Middle School Christina Chang - art teacher, Burlington High School Alexandra Djordjevic - art teacher, Burlington High School Courtney Fallon - art teacher, Pine Glen Elementary School Mojdeh Kazem - art teacher, Burlington High School Keith March Mistler - art teacher, Marshall Simonds Middle School & Remote Academy Stephen Scarpulla - art teacher, Fox Hill Elementary School Lindsay Shepard - art teacher, Marshall Simonds Middle School Lauren Vigneau - art teacher, Francis Wyman Elementary School Joanne Vigneau - art teacher, Burlington High School & Remote Academy Donna York - art teacher, Memorial Elementary School
The Art & Design program helps students develop their visual literacy (an understanding and appreciation of guiding concepts such as the elements and principles of design), creative problem solving, design thinking (a focus on steps in the process of making), and technical skills (craftsmanship). Students develop their Studio Habits of Mind (which comes out of the framework of Studio Thinking designed by practitioners at Project Zero at Harvard’s School of Education.). They develop their craft, becoming more technically skillful in using a wide range of tools, materials, and artistic processes, and they learn to take care of those tools and their studio workspaces. They begin to see and embrace problems as opportunities, develop focus, and they learn to persist and persevere at tasks. Art students learn to envision and imagine, thinking creatively, developing their ability to come up with new and better ideas. They learn to plan well and work through the many, sometimes messy, stages of the creative process. They express themselves, making art that conveys ideas, feelings, or personal meanings. They observe, looking closely and carefully at things, attending to nuance, noticing the small things that the casual observer won’t. They become more and more sensitive to the natural environment as they work from observation, memory, and imagination. They reflect on what they and their fellow artists have done, learning how to look at and talk about art, to defend their work, to take in and process constructive criticism from their peers. They stretch and explore, reaching beyond what they thought they could do. They learn to embrace opportunities, discover through play, and learn from their mistakes. They work and interact with one another in the community that is the art class, and they share their work with their school, family, and community. They make connections, learning about culture and history, current practices and innovation, and interacting with others through their study of art and art-making. We believe that students’ art classes help balance their academic classes, and that art-making is an essential, enriching experience that helps to more fully develop a well-rounded person.
In January, the Burlington High School Art & Design Department hosted its semi-annual Alumni Artist Day. For many years we have welcomed back former students to discuss their careers as artists. Alumni in college talk about their experiences at art school and share their portfolios, senior college students talk about how they are preparing to enter the workforce, and alumni who are working as designers, artists, and architects share their experiences and day-to-day activities at their jobs. Current art students have a chance to see the professional work and ask questions of alumni. They're able to learn about art careers directly from the artists who are members of their extended school community. A few art colleges had representatives present at tables in the main lobby as a "mini" college fair.
The year 2020 brought with it the Burlington Sculpture Park (burlingtonsculpturepark.org). The new park is located to the left of Grandview Farm and Marion Tavern, across from the corner of the town common. There are now six sculptures in all for this first phase of the Sculpture Park. The selection of the works was greatly informed by student participation. Students in many of Burlington's art classes from grades 1-12 voted on over 40 works submitted to The BSP Committee through the New England Sculptors Association. Several students also helped present the proposal to the town's Board of Selectmen.
The park's official logo was a collaboration/combination of graphic work by Burlington High School students Serena Hawkins and Hunter Robson, both Class of 2022. Burlington Cable Access Television (BCAT) shared a video story about the logo design for the Burlington Sculpture Park.
Student work was published or displayed in Collab, the high school’s literary magazine, the BHS yearbook, the Regional High School Art Exhibition hosted by the Lexington Arts & Crafts Society (LexArt), in other competitions and exhibitions such as Emerging Young Artists and the Scholastic Art Awards at the high school level and The Future of Work at the middle school level, and in the high school’s Cambridge Street Gallery, which continues to provide exhibition space to BHS alumni artists, community members, students, and faculty.
The Art & Design program posted Burlington Public School's first district-wide art show online. The Burlington Art & Design program had intended to hold its first district-wide art show in the real three-dimensional world at the town library in June. The school-based shows typically run at different times throughout the year: the annual Art Exhibition and Fashion Show at the high school happens in March, and it was up and ready to go but was cancelled just prior to the full school closing; the middle school art shows are art-room displays during the school's Open House; the elementary schools each have theirs in the Spring; the high school Portfolio show in the Spring features the works of our advanced students. At the beginning of last school year, the district's art teachers committed to investigating the possibilities and formats for a district-wide art show to share their students' work with the greater Burlington community. In early March the art program coordinator met with town library director Michael Wick about a district-wide show using the library as a venue and all the art teachers were on board for arranging a small selection of work to represent each school. With the changes in circumstances, in lieu of an actual in-person exhibition the art teachers gathered what images they could to put together this selection of student work from the 19-20 school year.
At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the AP Studio Art students held an online exhibition reception of their portfolios, to which parents and teachers were invited and at which each student discussed their oeuvre.
Advanced photography students once again collaborated with students in the Winchester High School photo program in an exhibition entitled “Photosynthesis” at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester. In February, photographer Bill Franson presented to the Burlington High School and Winchester High School honors photography students. This was part of Photosynthesis—a collaboration between the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester HS, and Burlington HS. This was the fourth year that Burlington has had the opportunity to be part of this amazing collaborative program that included artist talks to help inform and inspire the students' personal portfolios of photographs. Student photos were curated and presented at the Griffin Museum of Photography in June.
The Area Solutions team of PNC Bank worked with the high school program to select six large art pieces for permanent display in their new Burlington branch. Several BHS photography students had their work blown up on canvas, and are now on display at PNC bank to give some local flavor from the town. The PNC Solutions Center team created promotional materials to highlight the work of the students.
MSMS 7th grade art students completed a project in collaboration with an art contest hosted by Swissnex Boston, a part of the local Swiss embassy in Cambridge. Five students were chosen to have their work displayed on Swissnex's website under the "Boston" section (The students are Akira Kusachi, Grace Davison, Kaya Cummings, Kritika Agarwala, and Olivia Rourk.).
The Art Department is committed to elevating and highlighting the work and voices of Black, African American, and African Artists. As a starting point we are highlighting artists. The first artist that was featured was alumna Gam Dhliwayo (BHS Class of 2013) (website - Gam.design; instagram page @africangraphicdesigner). After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a degree in Graphic Design, Gam moved to New York City to work for Isaiah King Design, Sundial Brand, Blink, and now Group Nine media. She has worked on international and nationwide client work designing corporate identities, animations, product designs, marketing campaigns, and advertisements.
Just prior to the Thanksgiving break, Tarish Pipkins a.k.a. Jeghetto, a painter, poet, street performer, puppet-maker, and puppeteer, conducted at BHS a virtual puppet-making workshop and a talk about his experiences as a black artist. He demonstrated how an unconventional material (Tarish makes his ghostly, large-scale puppets out of cardboard.), in the hands of an enthusiastic artist, can give life to a story which addresses controversial issues and can create a space where contemporary audiences can reflect, bear witness, and engage in radical honesty.
With the change to remote and hybrid learning, the Art & Design teachers took to heart the guidelines and recommendations of the Massachusetts Art Education Association in planning and revising curriculum for the 20-21 school year, to do fewer things and do them well:
Make strategic reductions across the curriculum
Focus on fewer standards more deeply
Create a smaller number of well-crafted lessons and experiences that nurture relationships, support youth resilience, and build knowledge and skills.
Blend synchronous and asynchronous learning
Provide access to ALL learners
Temporarily shift focus from the Creating standards of the MA Visual Arts Frameworks to the other three standards: Presenting, Connecting, and Responding.
To eliminate the need to share tools and materials during the pandemic, art teachers assembled individual art kits for every student, providing supplies to be used in either the classroom or at home. Elementary and middle school teachers travelled from classroom to classroom to teach lessons.
The program also budgeted for Adobe Creative Cloud Access to be made available to every art student in BHS and MSMS as needed. Students were able to get one-year named-user licenses to the Creative Cloud to be installed on one computer in the school and another at home, allowing courses such as Computer Graphics and Photography to be taught more smoothly during hybrid learning.
To address remote learning needs at the elementary level during the pandemic, BHS art teacher Joanne Vigneau and MSMS art teacher Keith March Mistler are working in the Remote Academy for the 20-21 school year, teaching fully remote elementary grade students. Mojdeh Kazem and Lindsay Shepard joined the BHS and MSMS faculties, respectively, to fill the temporarily vacated positions.
In the fall, Laura Godinho served as a student teacher from Salem State College with George Ratkevich and Lexi Djordjevic. Laura is an alumnus of the Burlington Public Schools and the art program, a current Burlington resident, and the mother of a current BHS student. Kristen Barrett (School of the Museum of Fine Arts) student taught with Sarah Baldwin at Marshall Simonds Middle School. Nathaly Davis (The Massachusetts College of Art & Design) student taught with Courtney Fallon at Pine Glen Elementary School.
In memory of Cynara Ferrao, a recent graduate of the high school and a mainstay in the art program who passed last year, an art scholarship was created due to the efforts of Cynara’s friends and family. The Cynara Ferrao Scholarship, which will be first awarded at the end of the 2020-2021 school year, will be awarded to a “BHS student who shows a passion for fashion or art as Cynara did, and would like to further their education at a college/university focused on art.”
For the 2020-21 school year, the high school changed its course offerings for incoming freshmen to include Studio Art, Studio Art Honors, Photography I, Computer Graphics I, and Web Design.
The summer of 2020 brought with it the Burlington SculpturePark. The new park is located to the left of Grandview Farm and Marion Tavern, across from the corner of the town common. Peter Dellert’s Truth #1 was the first to be installed, followed by Mark Wholey’s Follow Your Heart and Philip Marshall’s Next Stop Shibuya. There will be six sculptures in all for this first phase of the Sculpture Park.
BSP Logo The park's official logo was a collaboration/combination of graphic work by Burlington High School rising juniors Serena Hawkins and Hunter Robson, both Class of 2022. Burlington Cable Access Television (BCAT) shares this video story about the logo design for the Burlington SculpturePark by students.
We are happy to share Burlington's first district-wide art show. The Burlington Art & Design program had intended to hold our first district-wide artshow in the real three-dimensional world at the town library in June. Our school-based shows typically run at different times throughout the year. The annual Art Exhibition and Fashion Show at the high school happens in March, and it was up and ready to go but was cancelled just prior to the full school closing. The middle school artshows are art-room displays during the school's Open House. The elementary schools each have theirs in the Spring. We also have a high school Portfolio show in the Spring featuring the works of our advanced students. At the beginning of last school year, the district's art teachers committed to investigating the possibilities and formats for a district-wide artshow to share their students' work with the greater Burlington community.
In early March we met with town library director Michael Wick about a district-wide show using the library as a venue and all the art teachers were on board for arranging a small selection of work to represent each school.
The art teachers gathered what images they could (after the pandemic hit and schools closed) to put together this selection of student work from the past year. It's an incomplete work; we unfortunately weren't able to include every one of our students and many works are missing student names. Much thanks to the art teachers for finding the time to work on this during their last few very busy weeks.