September comes around like a carousel, not unlike the work of Arthur Wesley Dow and his students. An influential and highly innovative art educator, Dow taught future art teachers the importance of creating art through elements of composition, namely line, mass, and color. Made in the early 1900’s by an unknown student of Dow’s, the orange and black block print combines lettering and a picture of children riding and observing — a ticket collector in the foreground — to evoke an eager, fun, and responsible start to the school year, cyclical like the carousel.
In the Gottesman Libraries we build harmony in research and study by adding our own elements – 32 tall Aeron chairs and extra desks offering more room for learners on the rotational platform of courses at Teachers College. Composition includes two discreet treadmills on the first floor, complemented by Bear’s reading den (soft rock-colored pillows forthcoming), on the second. Leveler and hand-held microphones, new projectors and HD capture are designed for the third floor, as they set the stage to usher in the 2014-2015 academic year.
For some, like nineteen-year old Ronald Newman, who painted A View from the School Window, it is all about mood and color, particularly early morning and evening effects. The deep whites, blacks, blues, and grays blend to present a striking scene of the Pittsburg landscape, making us appreciate not only the artist’s sources of inspiration, but also wonder what teaching and learning must have been like in an urban high school in the mid 1950s. Look closely and you’ll see that terraces in tempera are lit like a stage. Note the bright fences, windows, and oh, that amazing sky! Leafless branches reach towards cirrus clouds, thin and wispy, blown west to east by likely high winds. Indeed, one third of the painting is sky whose clouds typically signal fair to pleasant weather.
From the Russell windows, courtyard to 120th street, we’ll look to Theater as a model for education, with a view to new modes of learning – experimental and inspiring. Welcome students, and join us in sharing your mood and color of learning as September unfolds! Stay tuned to the news, particularly the early evening effects when Gottesman lights up with dialogue, discourse, sound, moving image. We see that orange is for Fall and Friendship, combining the energy of red and the happiness of yellow, and it’s also the blossoming of an Indian summer — sunny skies, pumpkin spice, and apples sweet as children on a merry-go-round.
A View from the School Window, by Ronald Newman, from the Ziegfeld Collection of International Children’s Art, Courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University
Hands Extended in Friendship, by Bilka Alon, from the Passow Collection of Israeli Children’s Peace Art, Courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University