, Salem, MA


May 16, 2013

The art of learning

Grad students' show focuses on the creative process


Susan Richardson, a special education teacher at Essex Aggie, is one of this year’s group of eight students. She created a garden for the art show.

“Each piece represents somebody in the cohort who helped me,” she said. “It’s kind of a metaphor for my whole process through Endicott.”

The garden draws on an earlier career as a landscaper, and includes a hosta made of paper, wire and paint, and an echinacea created with PVC piping, wire and paint.

Creating the pieces has given Richardson insights into her own struggles with a learning disability, which she can, in turn, apply to helping her students.

“Art connects to how people solve problems,” she said. “Not all students are able to show what they can do on one exam. They need to become independent, creative thinkers and problem-solvers.”

Alison Anholt-White’s contributions to the show will include a presentation she developed for the class in storytelling.

“It’s to do with bringing history to life, kind of a docent program for teaching students about history, with a focus on maritime history,” she said.

In an age when children are distracted by digital devices, storytelling relates to them in a direct way that empowers their imaginations, said Anholt-White, a graphic designer by training.

Peter Flister, another of the students, is the recreation director for Northeast Arc. He has always worked in ceramics, and adapted the skills and processes used for making pottery to some new materials.

“The main pieces I’m going to be displaying use paper pulp,” he said. “What I’ve done is added acrylic paint to the pulp and used that as a medium.”

Flister has created pieces on paper that are three-dimensional, and sometimes figurative, while other, more abstract pieces are monotypes, which he created by pressing the pulp through a screen.

“In some ways I feel like my creative and professional life had gotten stagnant,” Flister said.

Now, he said, “I’m doing things I never thought I would do.”

IF YOU GO ... What: Graduate student art show When: Reception on Friday, May 17, 4 to 9 p.m. Show on display until May 26 Where: Cyber Cafe, Van Loan School of Graduate and Professional Studies, Endicott College, 376 Hale St., Beverly Information:

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