In the Photo: QC art educator and exhibit co-creator, Dr. Rikki Asher (left) standing with exhibit student participant, Britney Wangko, Grade 4 (right) from the 51st Avenue Academy.
The Queens Museum of Art opened Multiple Visions 2011 recently to a large audience of community guests and leaders. The teacher-student exhibit features 82 selected works of art from 17 kindergarten through 12th graders from several Queens schools. Dr. Rikki Asher, exhibit co-creator and art educator, is proud to recognize and celebrate the spirit of Queens.
Multiple Visions began as a small idea to shine a light on the educational happenings in Queens. To Asher’s surprise it became more than what she envisioned. “I am thrilled! It was just an idea that was planted over a year ago and [just] to see it come to full fruition is wonderful. I hope many people come and enjoy these fruits, especially during these difficult times when art is being marginalized and teachers are loosing their jobs.”
Among the esteemed guests at the opening was James Muyskens, Queens College President, who elicited much pride in the efforts of teachers, students, QMA and QC faculty/staff while acknowledging the tough economic times to which this exhibit is displayed: “These are tough times for everybody…and it is truly inspirational to see what these students with their teachers are doing. So many teachers these days are feeling so pressed upon because of economics. They’ve obviously put their all into this effort. I’m just so in admiration of the teachers and students and of our faculty at the college that helped put this all together!”
The gallery was filled with the smiles and adulation of teachers, students and their guests. The sheer enjoyment of being selected to participate illuminated on the faces of the young artists. Kimberly Singh, a fourteen-year-old ninth grader at the High School For Law Enforcement and Public Safety discussed her piece, Sunflare, and reflected on her excitement to be included in the exhibit: “There were so many thoughts and ideas going through my head that I wanted to put everything there. I wanted to create something fun but something that would make people want to notice it. I feel really excited [to be a part of this exhibit]! My parents were proud and to have my teacher be proud of me and show it, it is nice!” Teacher and student pair Marla Kleinman (painter of Red Lotus) and fifteen year old Sophie Maynard (painter of Bamboo) from The Summit School also shared their jubilation about their artwork being viewed in the exhibit. “I’m just taking in the moment,” says Maynard. “I am thrilled and wonderfully excited! The fact that we are even having this exhibit in the time of budget cuts, and how people don’t think the arts are important. The art allows you to think out of the box. It is the thinking out of the box and creativity skills that we actually need to be world competitors and that is what the arts do for the kids,” Kleinman exclaims.
During the opening ceremony esteemed guest New York State Assemblywoman Grace Meng greeted the exhibit participants and guests, focusing on the importance of children maintaining their artistic gifts and talents. Following her, QC Division of Education Dean Francine Peterman thanked everyone who assisted with the exhibit’s creation and overall purpose. “The idea was to bring together children, families and their teachers to celebrate Queens. As we began to work on the project and partner with the Division of Education, Queens College and the Museum of Art, we decided to focus on teachers and the connection of their work to the work of their students.”