Ready, Set, Sketch!
The excited illustration students, with eyes as bright as their tee-shirts, were surrounded by big blue canvases, each with a different sea creature painted on it.
Bags bursting with free art supplies and a hardcover sketchbook were handed out to the 25 students in order to begin the first task of the summer 2012 session, which was to draw one of the fish living in the blue canvases on the wall.
The students sketched all morning, and once it was time for lunch, Jeannie, a 3-year veteran of the Summer Illustration Art Academy staff, gracefully and flawlessly conjured all of the children together to eat.
Following lunch, the students boarded a yellow school bus for the next activity at Central Park and once there, a line of budding artists, each readily equipped with sketchbook and artist pencil, followed Stephan Gardner, the art instructor for the day, through the winding walkways until he stopped at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.
The students then sketched his or her favorite component of the sculpture. In the bright sun, hands busily worked at images of Mad Hatters, Cheshire Cats, Alices and oversized mushrooms.
While young artists attempted to depict the sculpture with his or her best drawing capabilities, Gardner, a renowned illustrator from the Society of Illustrators, looked over each student’s drawing to give direction. Gardner drifted from student to student, and despite the warm July weather, enthusiastically gave advice, sketched tutorials and explained techniques.
For the entire month of July, the Summer Illustration Art Academy enabled 100 children, aged 9 through 13, to travel to various locations throughout New York City such as the Bronx Zoo, the Coney Island Aquarium, museum exhibitions and a double-decker bus through Times Square.
At these locations, the students will study a curriculum in accordance with the NYS Learning Standards for the Visual Arts, which consists of techniques including contour line, landscape, narrative, value and motion drawing.
Allen, an Art Academy student said, “It’s fun, I like going to different places,” and when asked what his favorite place to visit was, he responded quickly with “Times Square.”
The Summer Illustration Art Academy is the product of an 11-year partnership between NYC Parks and the Society of Illustrators. T he academy is also the result of the hard work of Mary Polemarhakis, the Director of Program Development in Central Recreation, who has been an advocate for outreach of the visual arts to at-risk youth since 2001.
Written by: Sky Stage, Central Recreation Communications Intern