Enrichment Programme: Visual Arts

I am proud to say that I have lived in Leipzig since 1994 and have been an art teacher at LIS since 2002. There have been so many rich activities and projects that we have done over the years. Some of these opportunities may have been more thoroughly organised, more collaborative, or even repeated if there had been more time, support, and resources given to them. This is why I was very excited about the creation of the Enrichment Programme and taking on the direction of Visual Arts this year. The aim is to connect to visual arts locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Due to COVID restrictions last year, the Enrichment Programme offerings in Art ended before they were really able to get started. Fortunately, many of the same artists who were offering courses are back instructing Textiles, Photography, Portraiture and Art Methods/Techniques. In addition, we have new artists to offer Printmaking, and Sculpture. This will allow students to specialise in their favourite art media. The artists are planning interesting lessons and finished pieces will be displayed in the form of exhibitions or virtually online. Many of these artists will also participate in our “Practice What You Preach” exhibition at LIK during the LindeNOW Art Festival October 1-3!

“Practice What You Preach” will showcase the work of some of the artists in our Leipzig International School & Leipzig International Kindergarten community. This first exhibition with LindeNOW will bring together Artist Teachers on staff, Artist Instructors from the After-School Programme, and Young Artists who are Alumni of LIS. This exhibition will allow us  to celebrate the Arts, to share our successes, and to reconnect to the local community. This will also be a great collaboration between LIS and LIK which we are very excited about.

LIS has been very supportive of my own art production and exhibitions. After attending the PD course in 2014, called Artist-Teacher Workshop by Heather McReynolds at her La Vigna Art Studio in Pisa, it was clear to me how important it is for Art teachers to continue making their artwork and having opportunities to exhibit it. This has also been part of my drive to find opportunities and support my colleagues to make their own art and to encourage them to exhibit. It is not easy to organise the time and place, but it is so worth the effort. On September 4 the Nacht der Kunst (NdK) the Art Festival of Georg-Schumann-Straße in Leipzig will exhibit the work of LIS students, Tanya Kramer (Secondary Art Teacher), and my own. It will also be an opportunity to collaborate with the Music Department and CAS. This has also encouraged me to run an Art PD for gr.4/5 Primary Teachers (in order to build their confidence in making art with their students) and to reconnect with LIS Alumni who study or have careers in some form of the visual arts. Helping the LIS community to rejuvenate their art productivity would be rewarding for all involved.

I had the great opportunity to exhibit my own artwork with two LIS Alumni in group shows this summer. Christian Bär (Class of 2008) and I exhibited in “Drei”, a group exhibition of 19 national and international artists who work in the neighbouring studios of the Spinnerei’s Hall 14. At the same time, Julian Revelle (Class of 2015) and I were selected to exhibit work in “Parallel Worlds”, part of the City Crash culture event at Werk 2. Being able to exhibit with Alumni was so special, this triggered the idea to invite them, along with Franz Poppelbaum (Class of 2012), to exhibit at the LindeNOW Art Festival. This encounter also led to the first of what I hope will be known as the “Alumni Exhibition Series”. When Brandie Smith, our newly appointed Head of School, asked for student artwork to hang in her office I immediately thought how perfectly Julian’s paintings would fulfil that request. We were all excited he felt the same. Please do take time to meet Brandie and, when you do, don’t forget to view the art on display until October! This seems to be a good run up to the LIS 30th Anniversary Celebration, when I hope to initiate the first “Alumni Exhibition”

The vision for the rest of the year will focus on how to spark more enthusiasm for the visual arts in the LIS community, in terms of both production and appreciation. We need to instil more pride, excitement, and desire to display/exhibit artwork as well as viewing, collecting and owning artwork among students and the greater LIS community. Using student artwork on the Secondary Teacher and Student Planners was another attempt to showcase student artwork. We will again participate in the Leipziger Kinder- und Jugendkunstausstellung. This youth art exhibition’s submission deadline is November 4th/5th for artwork made to the theme of “Alles Banane”, or Free Choice. I hope to initiate the Whole School Art Exhibition. Grade 10 has been given the opportunity to design and paint for the Mural Project on the neighbouring property’s underground car park entrance and playground area. Guest Artist, Ronny Bulik, will lead Graffiti technique workshops which will enhance students’ abilities needed to complete their murals. We need to put more emphasis on Careers, by exploring further collaborations with local artists, alumni and LIS parents who have art-related professions. Ideas for a Visiting Artist Series and Auctions are collected. We should form relationships with AGIS Art Departments and look for guidance to establish recurring Art Trips and involvement in National/International Art Projects and Competitions.

These are most of the current projects and some of the plans to strengthen LIS’s connection to the Visual Arts. Anyone with suggestions, ideas, or an interest in participating on any of the events and projects, please feel free to contact me via email. I would be happy to hear from you.

Steve Lewis

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