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PAA to bring artist to 19 area schools for sculpture program
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Washington, D.C.-based artist Kevin Reese (right) works with a student in Wausau, Wisconsin, to create a mobile during a 2007 residency. Reese will bring his mobile-making sculpture program to local schools this fall. (Contributed photo)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Piedmont Arts is seeking support from local businesses as it works to bring an artist-in-residence sculpture program to all 19 area schools this fall.

The community-wide project, “Mobilizing Our Community,” will involve Kevin Reese, a Washington, D.C.-based artist, working with students from all Henry County and Martinsville schools and Carlisle School for a total of four weeks, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 10 and Dec. 1 through 12, according to a news release. They will create mobiles that eventually will be displayed around the community.

During the first two weeks, Reese will work with students as they create their own models while learning design and balance skills. He will photograph the models to use as inspiration for the final designs.

During weeks three and four, he will return to the community with “master” maquettes, or models made from the students’ designs, and will work with the students to fabricate full-scale mobiles.

“We intend to mobilize our community around this artist residency by encouraging businesses and individuals to adopt a mobile through their financial support,” said PAA Executive Director Kathy Rogers. “Our hope is that we will have company employees who have supported the project working side-by-side with local students, as well as interns from NCI (New College Institute) and Patrick Henry Community College.”

Once the mobiles are complete, they will be exhibited in one location for several weeks so that the entire community can view them, the release said. The mobile exhibit will open with a celebration event during which students and supporters will be recognized.

At the end of the installation, Reese will return to the area and reinstall the permanent mobiles in area businesses and organizations that have invested in the project.

In addition to a permanent mobile, each business that provides financial support will receive a sticker for its door that reads, “We’ve Been Mobilized!” Businesses also may elect to donate their mobile to a school or organization of their choice.

“I am thrilled and honored to bring Mobilizing Our Community to Martinsville-Henry County. Mobiles are a perfect metaphor for community: individual shapes of different sizes and colors, balanced, in relationship, creating a wonderful whole,” Reese said. “I’m so pleased that businesses are already investing in this project. As an early sponsor they will receive a mobile specifically designed for their business, connecting them to the project not only financially but artistically as well.”

“Piedmont Arts is excited to bring Kevin Reese to the community,” Rogers added. “He is a dynamic educator, and his process incorporates art, math, physics and teamwork.”

The cost of the artist residency is $28,000, Rogers said. To date, the following have provided or pledged support for the project: Charity League of Martinsville-Henry County, Chick-fil-A, Dominion Foundation, Hooker Furniture, The Lester Group, Memorial Hospital, New College Institute, RTI, Kathryn Ascough Smith Memorial Arts Education Fund and the W.W. Sale Foundation.

Piedmont Arts also has applied to the Virginia Commission for the Arts for an Arts in Education Grant.

The museum hopes to engage more businesses in the project and still is looking for sponsors. Anyone interested should call Rogers at 632-3221.

Reese was a resident teaching artist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in the summer of 2012, working with 24 high school students to create an installation of mobiles inspired by the work of Spanish artist Joan Miro.

A native of California, Reese is a graduate of the University of California-Santa Cruz and the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts. In Washington, more than 52 of his sculptures have been installed at area libraries, schools and performing arts centers.

His program is called Kevin Reese’s School Sculptures Artist Residency.


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