“I’ve noticed that art at Country Day is not confined to the work our students make in the studios,” observes Middle School art teacher Stacy Utley, who joined the faculty in August. “You see it around campus in the murals and artwork of teachers, and in the framed works of notable artists. Art is in our library, cafeteria, gathering spaces, and green spaces. The pieces are as diverse as art can be and they are interwoven into every aspect of this campus. You can’t help but notice and appreciate it.”
The Artist in Residence Program is key to this intentional approach to community art. Middle School Head Warren Sepkowitz notes, “The Artist in Residence Program exposes our students to different mediums to help them more fully appreciate art while we simultaneously beautify our campus.”
This year, Country Day parent and internationally recognized artist Chas Fagan is working with our eighth-grade art students on the design of a sculpture. Mr. Fagan is known for painting oil portraits of all 45 U.S. Presidents, on commission from C-SPAN and the White House Historical Association, as well as the official canonization image of Mother Teresa.
The sculpture depicts an oak tree stump draped with a buccaneer flag and tricorn hat, with various symbols representing learning, knowledge, and Country Day history. It’s approximately four feet high and will sit on a natural granite base in front of the flag pole as you enter Bissell Campus from the main drive. Mike Hennessey’s eighth-grade art students came up with the theme because they wanted to visually tell a story that combined the schools mission, history, and culture.
“It was an amazing process from start to finish,” says Mr. Hennessey. “Our students brainstormed with Chas collecting images, stories, memories, symbols, and details that had any connection to the school. From hundreds of ideas, they worked with Chas to develop more than 40 sketches and small clay models, they were then narrowed to a manageable few."
"From there, the group chose one design and presented it to Chas, who then created our first working scale model in clay. Once that was approved the clay model was sent to the foundry where they created a full size Styrofoam and clay version. Our students spent most of a week adding details and fine-tuning the model, working over the soft, oil-based clay. Once that was complete, the model was returned to the foundry where it was prepped for casting, and finally cast in bronze. We ventured out to Seagrove, North Carolina, to see the casting process. It was an incredible experience for these young art students.”
On May 16, the students will gather with their teachers and Mr. Fagan to officially unveil this newest piece of art to surround Bissell Campus. Look for photos on social media next week.
Past Artists in Residence include:
- 2010–11: Mosaic with Pam Goode
- 2011–12: Mural with Lauren and William Puckett
- 2012–13: Videography with David Johnson
- 2013–14: Musical Composition with Alan Kaufman
- 2014–15: Theater Production with Flying By Foy
- 2015–16: A Capella Singing with Catch 22
- 2016–17: Quilting with Linda Pelletier