Featured Artist: Gloria Calderón-Sáenz

There is an environmental meaning in what I do, but there is also a metaphor about the river:  the impermanent place where our collective dreams merge and embrace transformation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   –Gloria Calderón-Sáenz 


Patterns of Creation by Gloria Calderón Saenz

Patterns of Creation by Gloria Calderón-Sáenz

It is easy to see Calderón-Sáenz’s deep attachment to the landscapes and dreams that she depicts.  The deeply detailed and organic carved patterns of her two dimensional work are elegant and meandering, at the same time that her painting is bold and expressive.

In the work, Patterns of Creation, the viewer has to lean close to see what marks are brushstrokes and which are carved from the panel.  A bird’s eye view, it’s easy to feel as if one is sweeping over a landscape in a dream.  The work is delicate and the stylized scene seems completely removed from human error or footprint, adding to the perception of a dreamlike ideal.

Rivers of Blood by Gloria Calderon Saenz

Rivers of Blood by Gloria Calderón-Sáenz

Rivers of Blood is also surreal, but entirely different.  Very abstract, the piece seems more rooted in reality, or at least, in another type of dream than Patterns of Creation.  Whereas that is a Utopian ideal without humans or animals, Rivers of Blood is entirely of this world.  Though the piece is not a print, it has the graphic composition and linear quality often seen in woodblock prints, where the color sits above the carved lines in the block.  Because of this quality, the artist’s hand and human interaction is much more present.

The Source by Gloria Caleron Saenz

The Source by Gloria Caleron-Saenz

The Source is currently on view in the Gibbs Gallery.  It began its life as part of huge tree in Arlington Heights.  When the tree was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Calderón-Sáenz brought home a segment of a hollow branch.  The tree was left to dry until the artist returned from hiking in the Andes where she saw a place where a small lake feeds a river and that spot inspired the carving.

Calderón Sáenz is an Arlington-based artist; her studio is located at Arlington Center for the Arts.  Her work will be on view in the Gibbs Gallery in the Elements: Images of Arlington until May 16, 2014.

You can see more of her work at http://www.gloriacalderonsaenz.com/index.php

Kids’ “Images of Arlington” exhibit on display at the Mass State House

Senator Ken Donnelly loves Arlington – he grew up here, raised his children here, and now represents the town in the Massachusetts Senate.

Senator Ken Donnelly with one of the “Images of Arlington” Artists

So when Senator Donnelly and his staffers heard about ACA’s annual Kids’ Images of Arlington exhibit featuring artwork by all the town’s 5th graders, they wanted to help get the artwork seen – and for the second year in a row, highlights of the exhibit are now on view in the Senator’s offices at the State House, and will remain on display through the end of the summer.

At the State House reception for the Images of Arlington artists and their families, hosted by Senator Ken Donnelly, with special guests Sean Garballey and Jay Kaufman.

At a special reception for the young artists last month, Donnelly thanked the students for sharing their artwork, saying the drawings and paintings of the town help show people all the special things about Arlington, and help him convey the spirit of the Arlington community.

Visiting the Senate Chambers on the State House tour with Senator Donnelly

Before the reception, Senator Donnelly took the students and their families on a private tour of the State House, where we also met up with Arlington Representatives Sean Garballey and Jay Kaufman.  We even had a quick greeting from Governor Deval Patrick, which was a special and unexpected treat! 

ACA bling for the Senator! ACA Communications Director Linda Shoemaker, and Executive Director John Budzyna with gifts from the Arlington Center for the Arts.

Want to see more?

More photos from the State House Tour & Reception

Photos of the Award-winning artwork and Gallery Opening in April 2012

Blog Story about the Exhibit

Kids Remembering the Thompson School through Art

Last week, we shared some great moments from the Kids Images of Arlington (IOA) 5th grade art exhibit and opening reception awards ceremony.  Today, I want to share a small subset of images with a big story to tell.

Each year, Arlington’s 5th graders are asked to choose something they think is special or important about Arlington, and then to create a piece of art depicting their own special piece of A-Town.   The children’s artwork is always a wonderful, colorful, exuberant, and sometimes poignant look at the town through the eyes of our kids.

This year, a number of students in the Thompson School district chose to pay tribute to Thompson in their artwork, creating a moving mini-exhibit that marks the end of an era in Arlington.  When the town made the decision to rebuild Thompson, this group of 5th graders were moved to the Bishop School, where they will graduate this spring.  But for many, their hearts are still at Thompson.

Pamina Mejia, “Thompson School.” Pamina says, “Thompson was torn down and I wanted to honor Thompson School in a Special Way.”

Max Fritsch, “Torn Down Thompson.” In his artist statement, Max wrote, “I used to go to Thompson. When I heard it was getting torn down, I grew very sad.”

Nicholas Laroche, “Thompson School.” “Thompson was my old school,” says Nicholas, “and it means a lot to me because I never got to graduate from Thompson.”

Eleanor Leto, “My Side of the Story.” Eleanor says, “I chose this subject because the Thompson School is where I grew up. I have learned to love this school, so I thought I should draw it.”

Ethan Moore, The Awesome Wall of Ye Old Thompson.

Eva Mir, Bus Stop. While not technically a Thompson tribute, Eva captured another change in the neighborhood, saying, “The Bus Stop just started this year.”

Grace Hogan, “Our Beloved Thompson.” “I chose Thompson Elementary because it was my first school before I came to Bishop,” says Grace. “I will never forget anybody who I met there and became good friends with. When Thompson’s rebuilt, I will miss it a lot, but I will be glad they could rebuild it.”

Where the Thompson School once stood, there is now a flat expanse of land waiting for construction to begin.  I haven’t seen plans for the new design, but thanks to these young artists, we’ll always remember the “Old Thompson” and what it meant to its last group of students.

Now in its 7th year, the Kids Images of Arlington Exhibit is a collaboration between the Arlington Center for the Arts and the Fine Arts Department of the Arlington Public Schools.  For more information about the program, please visit our website.

A Kids-Eye View of A-Town

What does Arlington look like through the eyes of our kids?

How about the Robbins Library done up with red spots, glowing blue/green windows, and a purple polka dot sky?  How about the Capitol Theater done up in 1930’s art deco style?  Or the view looking up into the towering slides at Robbins Farm Park, the colorful shops lined up along Mass Ave in Capitol Square, plus Uncle Sam as you’ve never seen him before…?!

Stratton School 5th grader Neeraja Deshpande with her painting, “Abstract Robbins.” In her artist statement Neeraja gives insight into her creative process, saying, “My picture was actually watercolor and it looked somewhat realistic, but then I got bored of the bland colors and decided to discolor it. I really love the library because it has such a wide selection of books and I love reading.”

Those are just a few of the 400+ visions and views of our town by Arlington 5th graders, now on display in the 7th annual “Kids Images of Arlington” exhibit, a collaboration between ACA and the Arlington public schools.

Hardy School 5th grader Georgia Terry with her painting, “Mass Ave.” In her artist statement Georgia says, “I chose Mass Ave because it is one of the busiest places in Arlington. You can do many things on Mass Ave, from watching movies to doing art projects, Mass Ave is such a fun place!”

From the 400+ entries in the show, ACA jurors selected one Award of Excellence and several honorable mentions from each 5th grade class.

The exhibit is on display at the Arlington Center for the Arts through May 18.  Please stop in!

Dallin School 5th Grader Abi Hodgdon with her piece, “The Slides.” “I chose to do the slides at Skyline Park,” Abi says, “because they were always my favorite place to go when I was younger. Images of Arlington was an excuse to visit them again for me. The angle I drew it from was how I always looked at it, starting from the bottom and looking up to the top.”

Award winners from the Stratton School at the Images of Arlington Opening Reception and Awards ceremony on April 5, 2012. Congratulations, all!

See the complete photo set from the Opening Reception, plus photos of all the Award-winning artwork on ACA’s Flickr Page!

Kids’ “Images of Arlington” artwork on display at the State House

Ben Lindner with Senator Donnelly

A group of young Arlington artists were honored last week at the Massachusetts State House, where their award-winning “Images of Arlington” artwork is on display in the offices of Senator Ken Donnelly.

Senator Donnelly and Representative Garballey with the group in the Hall of Flags

Senator Donnelly and Representative Garballey with the group in the Hall of Flags

The students, all rising Arlington 6th graders, were treated to a reception in Senator Donnelly’s office, and a personalized tour of the State House by Senator Donnelly and Arlington Rep. Sean Garballey.

We learned that when Rep. Garballey was a high school student, he worked as a State House tour guide, but even he couldn’t find the Arlington town flag in the hall of flags!

Presentation of the Official Citation. Pictured, from left to right: Linda Shoemaker, ACA’s Communications Director, Senator Donnelly, and John Budzyna, ACA’s Executive Director.

At the Reception, Senator Donnelly presented an official Senate Citation to the Arlington Center for the Arts in recognition of ACA’s promotion of arts and culture in Arlington.

Want to see more?  Check out our  Slideshow of the State House Exhibit, Tour and Reception