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South Valley Journal

A visit from traveling art truck inspires students to dream

Nov 04, 2019 04:25PM ● By Jet Burnham

Museum educator Erin Hartley leads art students through an exploration of work and community inspired by an audio visual art exhibit. (Photo by Vicki Wartman)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

A contemporary art piece, created by students at Escalante Elementary in Rose Park, inspired students at Oquirrh Hills Middle School in Riverton to think about work, community, and their dream jobs.

The exhibit, made in partnership with Frameworks Arts, KRCL public Radio, and Salt Lake Public Library, was entitled “Work: An Audio Visual of Experience of Effortful Lives.” Elementary students interviewed and photographed family and community members at work.

The exhibit is touring schools around the state inside the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (OMOCA) Art Truck. UMOCA stated its goal for the project was for students to come away from the experience with “a greater understanding of our communities work efforts, a motivation to talk about passionate work, and the ability to make connections with a larger community through group projects.”

Lindsey Nelson, who teaches drawing and ceramics art classes at Oquirrh Hills Middle School, said it was a good experience for her students who usually only get to look at their own art.

“This is just a whole different experience,” Nelson said. “They don't ever really get to be part of the whole presenting aspect of art.”

She said the exhibit was more than just about art.

“Since the exhibit is about working, I hope they start thinking about what they want to do with their future, even though it's far out,” Nelson said.

Erin Hartley, art educator for OMOCA, spoke with students about the project inside the truck. She encouraged them to think about several interests and options because 40 years is a long time to stay in one career.

Ninth grader Riley Costagno said she is thinking about becoming a sign language interpreter. Her plan is to take ASL classes in high school to work toward that dream job.

“It’s better to start now to figure out what your passion is and what opportunities you have and then go from there,” Riley said.

Steve Cherry, head counselor at OHMS, said middle school is an ideal time for students to be thinking about what they are interested in doing as a career.

“The earlier they have an interest, the more they can take classes in that specific area to really find out if that's what they like or not,” Cherry said. This saves them time and money in college. He encourages students to participate in specialized programs offered at the district’s JATC campus to give them a head start in their careers.

This year’s Art Truck was a photography and audio piece on community jobs. Last year focused on art that highlighted local plants, and the year before was a macramé sculpture of a bee.

“Most of the time, the Art Truck is focused on community and what's your part in it and how you can help out,” Hartley said.

As Arts Administrator for Riverton City, Vicki Wartman is thrilled to have the OMOCA Art Truck as an outreach resource.

“It's a great concept to be able to have traveling art,” she said. Because she is also a hall monitor at OHMS, Wartman arranged for the Art Truck’s visit. She believes it’s important to provide art opportunities for students and is contacting other administrators in the area about the art truck.

“I’d like to reach out to as many Riverton schools as possible,” Wartman said.

Nelson said the Art Truck was a convenient enrichment experience that only took one hour out of the students’ day.

“They actually get the opportunity to go and check out art without having to go all the way to the museum and make a field trip day out of it,” she said.

For more information or to request a visit by the Art Truck, contact Erin Hartley at [email protected] or call 801-328-4201, extension 124.