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“ This assignment could be fun. It could also be a little terrifying.” The students dug right in. “Art and political protest go hand in hand, in my point of view,” said Hugh Schatz-Allison ’19. “Art can be political even if it’s not protesting something.” But protest art, specifically, has a long history. Corwin showed her students the famous mural “Guernica,” Pablo Picasso’s reaction against bombing during the Spanish Civil War. She also showed them a lithograph titled “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?” in which the Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous artist collective, called out the Metropolitan Museum of Art for exhibiting more nude portraits of women than pieces made by women. Corwin developed the protest art assignment last summer, as she responded to current events through her own artwork. She painted oil portraits of people whose voices she felt had been silenced, such as Therese Okoumou, the woman who tried to climb the Statue of Liberty to protest U.S. immigration policies; and Anita Hill, the law professor who returned to public attention during the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. Corwin showed the


class these and other portraits she’d made, pointing out that the students would be expressing views that were equally personal. “I don’t need to agree with you,” she said. “This is about design elements and principles and craftsmanship.” Over the course of two weeks, the students tackled climate change, war, police brutality, immigration policy, the pro-life and pro-choice movements, the #MeToo movement, gun violence, and smartphone-induced social alienation. They made acrylic paintings, pen-and-ink drawings, collages, graffiti art, and digitally designed posters. “As a conceptually driven piece, it’s a risk, because I’m letting them branch off any way they want,” Corwin said. “But there’s also trust, because they really cared about what they were making. With art, there are always different ways to solve a problem, especially when there’s such an emotional, personal background to it.” That’s exactly what the students seemed to appreciate most. When they gathered for a critique, Marleyna George ’19 said, “I really liked this project because everyone is doing something that’s so different from everyone else.” Stephen Peng ’20 worked with spray paint — and went Dumpsterdiving at the farm in search of just the right piece of cardboard to paint on. He liked being able to try a new medium. “I’ve been a fan of street art for a long time — all those

Teacher: Lauren Scott Corwin Years at NMH: 8 Other Courses: Introduction to Visual Arts, Drawing and Composition, Illustration Education: BFA in Painting and Art History, Maryland Institute College of Art; MFA in Painting, University of Delaware Before NMH: Taught 2D Design and Introduction to Drawing courses at County College of Morris, New Jersey; and a drawing course at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. Fun Fact: Corwin also worked as a barista at Starbucks. She says, “I attribute much of my professional growth to BOTH jobs. I learned about human behavior, customer service, and making beautiful objects.”

anonymous artists who express their ideas through their art,” he said. “In other projects for this class, we’re expressing ourselves in one way or another, but for this project, we really got to say, ‘Hey, class, these are my ideas. This is what I believe in.’” [NMH]

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Profile for Northfield Mount Hermon

NMH Magazine Spring 2019  

The Magazine of Northfield Mount Hermon

NMH Magazine Spring 2019  

The Magazine of Northfield Mount Hermon

Profile for nmhschool