Put on a Happy “Face!”

Brad Devlin Faces Workshop_1By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Making sure our students have a meaningful experience in the arts has always been a core value at St. Francis. To that end, not only do we have wonderful art teachers at every level who engage the children multiple times each week, but also our Art Department actively seeks out local artists to come to campus and present an artist-in-residence program that connects our students to the community.

In the past decade we’ve had local craftspersons teach metalworking, wheel throwing, textile and puppeteer design – and even chainsaw art! This year we are delighted to have local artist Brad Devlin lead our Middle School students in a mixed media project, turning everyday materials into expressive “Faces!”. Brad is known for his incredible talent to transform found objects into acclaimed works of art that invoke thoughtful conversation about a wide range of issues and emotions. He has an innate ability to turn reclaimed relics, salvaged material, and ordinary stuff into works with historical, artistic, and personal meaning.

Brad Devlin Faces Workshop_17Brad came to Middle School Morning Meeting a couple of weeks ago to show us some of his fanciful creations – and this week it has been the students’ turn. The loud banging in Alex Taylor’s art room has been worth the wait to see what our kids are creating!

“It’s really cool to watch the students translate Brad’s enthusiasm into beautiful works of art that teach the value of recycling and the power of imagination,” observes Judy Riendeau, Lower School art teacher. Parent volunteers and staff helped with this effort, and were equally amazed to see the students engaged in a new and challenging way. “It’s hard for me to imagine my son using a hammer, drill, wire cutter, staple gun, awl, and sandpaper in a beautiful project – other than at St. Francis,” shares 7th grade parent Tricia Erwin. “How fun to see this ‘stuff’ come to life. Mr. Devlin was thought provoking, fun, and caring.”

Brad Devlin Faces Workshop_14“What a great (large!) group of inquisitive, creative, and polite kids,” Brad commented after his first day. “I always come away from one of these workshops energized, and full of new ways to use new and old materials. Thanks to Judy and Alex, and all the other volunteers who came to help.”

We appreciate our parent support for Art to Remember and this workshop which enabled us to offer this unique experience with Brad (aka the “Master of Found Materials”). A special thanks to Ben Reif for the use of his drills and the donation of wood for materials. Thanks to parent volunteers Scott McGraw, Tricia Erwin, Tammy Nofsinger, Aimee Caudle, Gerri Willis, Robin Hilton, Joe Walden, Gretchen Davis, and Michelle Koch.

Brad’s work can often be seen at Galerie Hertz, as well as at this year’s Imagine! Art Auction + Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday, February 25th at the Tim Faulkner Gallery (and you can “friend” him on Facebook to see more of his work).