In 2003, The Rockwell Museum established a partnership with the High School Learning Center of the Corning-Painted Post Area School District. With the support of The Triangle Fund and Mission Committee of Christ Episcopal Church, the Identity and the Artist program was formed. Throughout the year, students create art and writing projects that explore issues concerning identity, affording them opportunities to gain greater self-awareness.
In addition, the program allows students to explore The Rockwell collection in-depth and engages them in tours and exhibits of artistic works. Led by Museum staff and local artists, in collaboration with High School Learning Center staff, the program addresses the academic, social, and program objectives established by the High School Learning Center.
Specifically, the project begins with a special tour of The Rockwell collection with a focus on exploring images of nature. Students study how artists in the collection reveal aspects of their cultural and personal identity through their artwork. Over the course of six (three- hour sessions) students create a paper-maché mask (under the direction of a professional artist) which personifies an element of nature (e.g., wind, rain, thunder or fire). Students then write a monologue for the mask and choreograph a movement piece accompanied by professional and student musicians.
The culmination of the program is a performance and reception for an invited audience of family and community members. The program, in particular the culminating performance, provides a unique opportunity for the parents of the students to gain insight about their child and to understand how the community is working together to create valuable learning experiences for their children. It also brings awareness to the community of the positive growth that is possible for youth through an empowering artistic endeavor.
This program provides an opportunity for students to gain confidence in themselves through the artistic and social components and to gain an understanding of how a museum can be a resource for academic work and personal growth through the study of art. The program also provides teachers the opportunity to better understand the learning styles and particular needs of each individual student.
The High School Learning Center was developed by the Corning-Painted Post Area School District, in collaboration with Corning Community College and representatives of the Corning-Painted Post business community to incorporate paid student employment in the community. It offers a rigorous alternative approach to academics that supports students in the following objectives: to earn a Regents High School Diploma; to develop a plan for the future; to develop skills to make that plan a reality; to make healthy personal choices; and to have a commitment to the community where they live.
This project is made possible in part by grants from The Triangle Fund, Great Circle Foundation, Inc, and William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.