1996 Painting Class, students painted the portraits of all 150 participants in the EXCEL program -- half in color, half in black and white. Each student painted 15 portraits within a 4-week session. Daily Classes included discussions about the portrait from a historical point of view, as well a contemporary context
In the summers of 1996 and 1997 I was a resident instructor of painting and sculpture at EXCEL at Amherst College in Western Massachusetts. EXCEL is a summer enrichment program that prepares high school students for college life, including academic and creative courses that emphasize active engagement and hands-on learning. In addition, students participate in an extensive extracurricular program that includes instructional sports clinics and community service. Students also take part in weekend excursions to destinations in New England and Canada directed by the resident staff and instructors.
EXCEL courses provide students with opportunities to expand academic horizons -- to explore entirely new areas of interest or to consider more familiar topics in new ways. In the classroom, collaborative, hands-on learning is emphasized, since courses should be as fun as they are educational. The curriculum includes courses in the arts, the humanities, the social, computer, and natural sciences, and SAT Preparation. EXCEL's college-style seminars incorporate guest lectures, field trips, and group projects. Examples of student projects have included: the creation and implementation of a small business, video production, A Midsummer Night's Dream performed by moonlight in a forest, the development and production of Spanish-language commercials, work on cooperative farms, and the production of several literary magazines.
I taught four intensive classes each summer -- two painting courses and two sculpture courses. The 1996 Painting students painted the portraits of all 150 participants in the EXCEL program -- half in color, half in black and white. Each student painted 15 portraits within a 4-week session. Daily Classes included discussions about the portrait from a historical point of view, as well a contemporary context. The 1997 Painting students explored self-portraiture through representation, symbolism and text by dividing their image into nine sections and devoting three sections to each respectively. The 1996 and 1997 Sculpture students worked with the idea of space - public and private.