'Friends and Family' Art Exhibit

A unique exhibit kicked off Brooks School's Robert Lehman Art Center 2018-2019 schedule. "Friends and Family," features a variety of art forms displayed together in a joint exhibition united by just one thing: all of the artists have a personal connection to Brooks School.

See an album of photos of the exhibit.

"It was a lively opening," Lehman Director and visual arts teacher Amy Graham P'19, P'20 said of the September 28 evening reception that introduced students, faculty, staff and guests to the exhibit on display through October 19. "The turnout was wonderful and everyone was excited. There were people there who hadn't even been in the gallery before!"

Visit our Lehman Art Center page to view the full schedule of exhibits this year and read about past shows.

Reaching new audiences was part of the aim of this show, which features works from painting to performance art. The artists include architect and architectural illustrator Frank Costantino (uncle of Nathan '18, Matt '20 and Alex Costantino '21), and mixed media artists Michele Boshar (mother of Mary Boshar '20 and spouse of Mark Boshar '79) and Bob Hesse (father of Science Department Chair Randy Hesse; grandfather of Jacob Hesse '16 and Maddie Hesse '20).

Painters Beth Dacey (Graham's cousin) and Deirdre Riley (aunt of Cameron Riley '20, and Emma Riley '21) are represented, as is miniaturist DeWayne Stallings (a longtime friend of Graham) and interior designer Shelagh Schylling (mother of Grace Schylling '16).

"We wanted the exhibit to be accessible, warm and inviting for the community," said Graham, who approached Brooks-related artists who have devoted their careers to, or been anchored in, visual communication when pulling together the exhibit.

"Ninety percent of what I've been able to do in the gallery has been personal, as in this exhibit. It connects students to artists in their world, and gives them new discoveries, like, 'Hey, did you know that this person is an artist?' And this group is the tip of the iceberg. I know so many more out there doing great visual art."

Students have really responded to the works, Graham added. Seeing creations by someone that they may know, or even whose name they recognize "gives them a clear path in to experiencing the art."

During a recent studio art class, students took that concept further by working with a personal object. This exercise is another way in which creating and viewing art can become more powerful, she noted.

"Students are drawing something that has memories associated with it," Graham said. "That makes for different art than working with something you have no connection to. The personal matters on a visceral level. You don't have to try to grasp at something that seems like it belongs to someone else."

Breaking down barriers to, and fears about, art is a mission for Graham. "Everything doesn't have to be heavy and deep," she said, "but it should be something that connects people to each other and creates something else."

On Thursday in the Lehman, another form of art will be added to the exhibit and the connections: performance. Jean Dancewicz (grandmother to Kathryn '18 and Madeline Delaney '20) will sing a cabaret show with her partner Christine Corbett called, "Let's Be Frank." The concert is a take on the songs of Frank Sinatra and will also include some biographical and anecdotal information about Sinatra and his life.

"I wanted that performance element as part of this exhibit," said Graham. "The space is an arts center and that's an important piece that we can showcase here as well." Bravo!

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