Students Experiment with Mediums at Art Exchange

Clutching paintbrushes and palette knives, Sabrina Lu ’17 explained how to paint with bright acrylic paint to the group of students assembled around her. Lu lead the painting workshop for the Andover Art Exchange last Sunday. Kay Xia ’15 founded Art Exchange last Spring with the intent of giving students opportunities to experiment with different art media and create large-scale art projects outside of taking an art class. Xia has always been interested in art, inspiring her to start the club. “Art is the universal language… Especially at Andover, art has become a lot more important to me because it is really easy to get stressed out and super busy. Art forces you to take some time to stop thinking about everything else and just focus on what you are doing. It changes your mindset and for me, it is a great stress reliever,” said Xia. Xia enlisted fellow student artists and Art Exchange board members Corissa Hollenbeck ’16, Jessica Lee ’16, Lauren Luo ’16 and Lu to specialize in teaching one particular medium of art. Throughout Fall Term, board members rotated teaching their respective mediums during the club meetings. “We thought that [workshops] would be a great way to get students to familiarize with different media and also learn about different skills and get some inspiration,” said Xia. The club also welcomed artists from outside the board to lead meetings. “My favorite workshop was led by Ally Klionsky ’17, who is a really great designer. She showed us the basics of graphic design using Photoshop and InDesign and also provided examples of her own work (very impressive!) After demonstrating for the whole class, we had an opportunity to try it out for ourselves,” wrote Darcy Burnham ’18, a club member, in an email to The Phillipian. Drawing on the skills cultivated throughout Fall Term, the club has been working Winter Term to create individual, independent projects centered on the theme of identity. Xia said, “The idea of Art Exchange is that people create pieces of art that send a message, so the idea [is] about the universal language. You are supposed to pick a cause that is meaningful to you. This year, we made the theme ‘Identity.’ It’s supposed to be an exchange of ideas and raise awareness and send a message about each person.” “I consider myself a third culture kid, as I am a Korean living in Hong Kong, [I was] born in Korea, and [I attend] a boarding school in the United States. I am working on a piece that will portray the advantages and difficulties I face from my diverse background,” said Lee, Art Exchange’s Head of Mixed Media. Art Exchange traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this month as another way for club members to gather inspiration for their Winter Term projects. Xia said, “When people see real artists and what they’ve made, you can get really inspired. You get more of a reaction from some art pieces, so you can see what it is about that particular piece of art that impacts you. Therefore you can try to incorporate that into your own art.” The board of Art Exchange is currently planning an exhibit during Spring Term in which club members can showcase their Winter Term projects. They also hope to sell prints of the winter projects. Art Exchange meets Sundays at 2:30 p.m. in Elson Art Center.