Staring at a table covered with thick black paper, Karissa Kang ’17 picked up a key and a white pencil from the pile of miscellaneous fans, Legos, whisks and rolls of tape that littered the table. Kang held the key in the air slightly above the table and asked Alice Lu ’17 to shine a flashlight on the key so that Kang could trace its shadow onto the paper.
Kang’s sketch was part of the “Collaborative Mural” activity at addiSUNDAY, an event last Sunday afternoon at the Addison Gallery of American Art. addiSUNDAY included three art activities inspired by the Addison’s new exhibit, “Light/Dark, White/Black,” which features works of art in shades of black and white. The event was planned and hosted by the Addison Community Ambassadors, a group of students who work with the Addison’s education department to learn more about the museum and brainstorm activities for Addison visitors.
“Earlier in the fall, our Addison Community Ambassadors were talking about how they wanted a day of activities in the galleries for [Andover] students. The Addison Community Ambassadors were talking about what a good destresser it is to just do hands on art-making stuff, and they wanted for [Andover] students to have that same chance to play with materials and have it be non-stressful – no art experience required,” said Jamie Kaplowitz, Education Associate and Museum Learning Specialist at the Addison.
In “Naming Black and White,” another activity at addiSUNDAY, students scrutinized an assortment of paint samples in various shades of black and white in order to name the samples as if they were a paint company. Some of the responses included “burnt toast,” “meringue on a bright yellow lemon pie” and “needs-a-fresh-coat white.”
Claire Park ’16, an Addison Community Ambassador, said, “The ‘Naming Black and White’ activity was intended for visitors to interpret the artwork linguistically — through renaming shades of white and black. It was a way for them to take personal ownership of a nuance that they captured and write down for others to see and recognize… Since people were bound to both disagree and agree with each other, the sharing portion of the activity was intended to encourage the usage of other interpretations as launching points for one’s own.”
The third activity was titled “Black and White Collage.” Visitors were invited to cut, layer and glue pieces of black, white and gray paper together to make collages. The limited color palette encouraged students to think about texture and patterns in their collages.
“The aim of the activity was for students to get away from the idea that black and white are two, unchanging things. It got students to layer shades of black and white materials to create depth and convey messages and themes,” said Lu, an Addison Community Ambassador. “I saw a few of the collages before I left, and I loved the use of texture and shade. There was one collage that from far away looked like a blank, white box. However, as one got closer, one could see that there were in fact letters cut out of white packaging foam.”
Harriet Chiu ’15, who attended addiSUNDAY, said “I mainly come to [addiSUNDAY] for a break. [The Addison] has such a different atmosphere from the rest of the school. It’s nice to get away from everything else that is going on.”