In February, students at Springer School and Center experimented with unconventional art under the guidance of Louisville artist Amy Parks.
Using acrylic paint, each student in all art classes created their own piece of art, painting on canvas with unusual items such as silk flowers, rubber toys and even a plastic dinosaur. Parks then worked with small groups of Middle School students creating abstract pieces using acrylic paint and pouring medium.
“I really tried to impress upon the students that you do not need fancy brushes and years of private lessons to create beautiful art,” Parks said. “What you do need is to be creative, passionate, and to make use of materials available to you.” Parks showed the students a video clip of a lizard who “painted” by walking through the paint, and another about an artist who was born without fingers.
“I enjoyed working with the artist, and I wish I could do it again,” remarked eighth-grader Logan Felsheim. “Our painting turned out really good!” Eighth-grader Veronica Keil said, “Amy was a great teacher. She has very creative ideas,” and Annika Sandman, also in eighth grade, added, “She was very kind, and did a great job, though she said she had never worked with students before.”
With a degree in art from the University of Louisville, Parks has worked as a freelance artist and designer since 2001. She has become known for using unorthodox materials and techniques – she once covered a canvas with a mixture of glue, sugar and ground marble which created a delicate surface on which to paint. One client asked Parks to paint wall-sized pieces on the back of several antique maps.
“I hope each student has a sense of pride in what we created during my visit,” remarked Parks. “The program at Springer is second to none, and honestly something I'd expect to see more from a high school or college level curriculum. It was an honor to be a part of that, and to have my creations join the ranks of other artists who have visited before me, and to have left a legacy of a passion for the arts at the school!”
Parks spent six days at Springer as the 2019-20 Maureen Wenker Artist in Residence. The residency was established in 1993 by Paul Wenker in memory of his late wife, a Springer supporter and volunteer, and parent of three Springer alumni.