This past year, Middle School art teacher Katherine Nicholson and her students have been hard at work creating a faerie house that will go up at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn.
Every year in the fall, the Florence Griswold Museum holds an outdoor installation called “The Wee Faerie Village.” Artists create faerie houses based around that year’s theme, and then display them at the museum. The process started last year when Mrs. Nicholson applied to create a faerie house for the museum. “I apply by sending them student work to show the depth of our students’ creativity and thinking,” Mrs. Nicholson said. After the application was sent and the students were accepted into the exhibit, all they had to wait for was the theme. “Having our Middle School art students participate in the Faerie House exhibition is such an exciting opportunity for them to experience what it’s like to be a professional artist,” Creative Arts Department Chair Scott McDonald said.
This experience is truly special as KO was one of the few schools accepted into the exhibit, with the rest of the faerie houses being created by professional artists. “Every year they unveil the theme on Super Bowl weekend,” Mrs. Nicholson said. “This year’s theme is Supertopia, so it is based around superhero fairies.” After the theme was announced, the students had to decide what superheroes they wanted to base their faerie house on. The students all voted on their favorite superheroes, and ended up choosing to design their faerie house around “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
“After we had our theme, we decided that we could build the house in separate pieces,” Mrs. Nicholson said. “We decided to make separate houses for each character and ended up creating a behemoth of a faerie house complex.” The faerie house was created by Mrs. Nicholson and her 23 seventh-grade students last year. The seventh-graders worked on the faerie house so that as eighth-graders they would be able to go and view their artwork as a class.
“Now that the students are eighth-graders, on Oct. 4, the whole eighth grade will go and view the exhibit,” Mrs. Nicholson said.
Mr. McDonald highlighted this opportunity. “We’re also so happy that the Middle School has arranged for all Form 2 students to travel to the Florence Griswold Museum to see the exhibit and celebrate the work of our KO artists,” Mr. McDonald said.
While they are at the museum, the eighth grade class will also get a chance to see two other exhibits. “One called “Nothing More American,” which is a photography exhibition that focuses on churches as safe houses,” Mrs. Nicholson said. She has high hopes for the field trip to the museum. “Hopefully the eighth-graders will feel the power of that exhibit,” she said.“I will be working with the history department to see if we can somehow incorporate this into their curriculum.”
Mrs. Nicholson explained that the second exhibit called “Silver Wings” was part of an environmental exhibition. “An artist [named Agnus] installed hundreds of bugs on housing at the museum. We are hoping to somehow connect this exhibit to a part of the science curriculum.”
While the field trip to the Florence Griswold Museum will involve the viewing of multiple exhibits, one of the biggest reasons is for the students to see the artwork in a real museum and appreciate the weight of their accomplishments. “Hopefully they will feel the impact of their art,” Mrs. Nicholson said. “The Museum is expecting 15,000 viewers for that exhibit, so I hope they can appreciate that number by seeing it in person.”