ArtSeed Narrative Recap: Project Anton
Collaboration with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and
Pre-k – 5th Graders at the San Francisco Public Montessori School
In fall 2013, ArtSeed conceived and led ten days of exciting workshops, eight of them, in collaboration with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, at the San Francisco Public Montessori School. While focusing on the life and music of composer Anton Webern, we developed new ways of thinking based on related arts disciplines through works of the writer Gertrude Stein, painters Wassily Kandinsky and Georges Seurat, and Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. Besides making awesome art, our aim was to have the names and works of these cultural icons become both thoroughly familiar and appreciated. We worked with all of the school’s one hundred and seventy students, pre-k through 5th grade. They listened to recordings of, and interpreted in their own words and art, Webern’s Concerto for Nine Instruments, Opus 24. Discussions, slide shows, musical excerpts, and demonstrations of arts techniques illuminated their hands-on activities.
Four ArtSeed artists (videographer and Program Coordinator Trey Houston, graphic designer and Board member Todd Standish, painter and Executive Director Josefa Vaughan, and UC Berkeley MFA candidate Akiko Yoshida) planned, taught, and set up and cleaned up during weekly, six hour sessions of back-to-back classes. We had visits from San Francisco Contemporary Music Players Artistic Director Steven Schick, Executive Director Rosella Kennedy, and Program Director Mason Dille, along with help from numerous ArtSeed volunteers and helpers. San Francisco Public Montessori School parents, led by Gabriela and John Hofmeyer, not only provided supplies and classroom help, but also spearheaded funding.
Besides the line exercises, and making of Indian ink, brush, and mixed-media paintings that used archival materials, the students produced accordion books based on Kandinsky’s Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913. All of these were on-going, long-term projects that stretched the students’ attention spans and mustered their perseverance. All stages of this work were documented, and the amazing results will be shown at the March 24th, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players concert at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, projected before, after, and during intermission. Selected student works will also be exhibited later this year at ArtSeed’s Open Studio May 3rd and 4th and at Legacies and Living Spaces, ArtSeed’s Thoreau Center Exhibition June 26-July 26, 2014.
The accordion books were based on a work by Wassily Kandinsky, 1866-1944
Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913.