Environmental Art classes partner with New Hampton Community School

Environmental Art at New Hampton: A New Perspective

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Lukas Uhler ’18, from Upland California, shared some of his thoughts on Art at New Hampton School. A hockey player and dedicated student-athlete, Lukas surprised himself when he enrolled in Mr. Smith’s Environmental Art Class.

“Before I came to New Hampton School I had not taken a single high school art class and I honestly wasn’t really planning on it. During my first year here, my roommate told me about a class he was taking with Mr. Smith and how fun it was. Once he explained to me what it was I decided to give it a try.

Environmental Art

My first semester of Environmental Art was probably my favorite semester at New Hampton. Two of my best friends were in the class too and Mr. Smith soon became one of my favorite teachers. One of the coolest projects that we did in class was with the New Hampton Community School. We made a wigwam with the 3rd graders who were learning about Native American history.

New Hampton students with New Hampton Community School Students
The Wigwam built from natural materials was a collaborative Environmental Art and History project.

For that project, we spent a couple of blocks collecting natural materials that we took to the school to build the wigwam using traditional methods. Under the guidance of Mr. Smith and Mr. McCann, the teacher from the New Hampton Community School, we helped the 3rd grade students dig post holes, fold and tie the wood to make the wigwam frame, and then covered the whole thing with pine boughs.

The Artists

In Environmental Art, I really enjoyed learning about different artists. The artist that inspired me the most was Andy Goldsworthy. We would watch videos and read articles about how he would make his art and none of us had ever seen anything like it. His process is very tedious and he sometimes has to make the same piece time after time to complete it because it would keep collapsing.

Andy Goldsworthy environmental art
The work of Andy Goldsworthy resonated with environmental art student Lukas ’19.

I learned that Andy Goldsworthy only uses natural materials and in some of his art you see it differently depending on the time of day. One of my favorite pieces by Goldsworthy was an egg-shaped structure made out of rocks. We watched a video of him making it and you could see how much patience and time it took to complete.

Installation Art

After taking Environmental art, I signed up for Installation Art. It allowed people in the community to interact with our art and introduced me to a new perspective of what art is.

One of my favorite installation artists that we learned about was Yayoi Kusama. She is a Japanese artist who has made a lot of very interesting pieces of art and helped set the stage for installation art to grow over the past few decades into what it is today. I like Kusama’s work because of how vivid and colorful it is. I had never seen anything like her rooms filled with polka dots or the sculptures she makes using random objects.

Kusama Polka Dots
Yayoi Kusama’s installation art helped shape Lukas’s understanding of what art is and can be.

A New Perspective

The art program at New Hampton has taught me more then I ever thought I could possibly know about art. Taking art classes has changed me a lot and I attribute much of that to Mr. Smith and the three years that he has been my teacher. Almost anyone can tell you that I’m not really the artistic type, but after my experiences at New Hampton I now see art in a new light and with a new eye.”

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