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Carver Students Explore the Arts on Campus with VCU Mentors

Want to know what a roomful of happiness looks like? Visit a mentoring session between VCU students and George Washington Carver Elementary School students. The room lights up with pure joy.

For instance, on a recent crisp fall day — perfect field trip weather — the VCU School of the Arts Department of Art Education invited 35 Carver students to campus to give them a peek into college life. Not only did each elementary school student get to spend the morning with a personal mentor, but they each also attended an art workshop, toured the Fine Arts Building, visited the Anderson Gallery and ate lunch with the “big kids” at Shafer Court Dining Center.

The children — young and old — could not contain their smiles. During the workshop, they worked on watercolor resist, a technique in which the artist first draws in oil pastel and then paints over it with watercolors. For the theme, which was “The Future of Your Environment,” 9-year-old Myona drew a beach, with clear water and clean sand, while Nyima, also 9, drew a garden.

The assignment dovetailed with the tour they would take later in the day of the Anderson Gallery’s “Forecast” exhibition, which examines the challenges and changes of a planet facing escalating environmental devastation. Concepts include landscape as a bearer of cultural values; the transformation of nature into a commoditized, industrial or synthetic landscape; the complexities underlying geopolitics; and the effects of industry and human behavior on animal habitat and biodiversity.

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