Akron Art Museum shows off youth art

Daniel Owen

Students from Miller South School of Visual and Performing Arts create a historical timeline as part of an exhibit at the Akron Art Museum. The timeline is inspired by the style of artist, Aminah Robinson. Photo Courtesy of Susan Yingling

Credit: DKS Editors

Basketball sensation LeBron James is one of several celebrities to hail from Akron. Now there is a new group of stars: fourth and eighth grade art students from Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts.

“Every time the students go to the (Akron Art Museum), everyone says ‘the stars are here, the stars are here,'” said Julienne Hogarth, art teacher at Miller South.

Under the teachings of Hogarth and fellow Miller South art teacher Susan Yingling, fourth and eighth grade students created pieces of art inspired by Ohio native artist Aminah Robinson.

Their work is on display at the Akron Art Museum and is called “At One South High: Collaborative Works by Miller South Students Inspired by the Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson.” The students’ art is displayed alongside Aminah’s exhibit, “Along Water Street.”

Melissa Higgins, director of education for the museum, said the collaboration idea came about after Hogarth and Yingling brought their classes to the museum for several field trips during the 2007-2008 school year.

The teachers wanted to do a project to represent the trips and told the museum about their studies of Robinson’s work. “We got really excited because we knew we were planning Robinson’s exhibit,” Higgins said. “It was great timing.”

The students got right to work after getting word their art was going to be displayed.

Using Robinson’s methods, Yingling’s eighth grade class created a giant, stitched timeline of famous artists entitled “A Journey through African-American Art.”

“The class was in need of a community project,” Yingling said. “The project definitely brought (the class) closer together, which is something Robinson teaches in her work.”

Hogarth said the work her fourth grade class did for the exhibit was similar to assignments previously done in the school year.

“We have studied Aminah’s work in our classrooms for years,” she said.

Robinson uses her own term, “RanGonNon”, to shape her work, which the Miller South students studied for their projects. RanGonNon is a term for a piece of art that is never complete but continues to “rag on and on.”

Solomon St. Clair, 10, of Kent, is a Miller South student who created work for the exhibit.

“My favorite part is going to the museum and seeing my own art on display and knowing other people besides me will see it,” he said. “(Our class) just did our best; we weren’t worried what people would think of it.”

Next month, the Miller South students will get a chance to meet Robinson for the first time prior to her speech at the Akron Art Museum.

The students’ exhibit will remain on display through March 22.

The Akron Art Museum is located at 1 South High St. in downtown Akron and is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays.

Contact School of Art reporter

Daniel Owen at [email protected].