Art on display in unique exhibit

A recently opened exhibition at Queens College is giving students the chance to display their artwork alongside their teachers.

“Queens: Multiple Visions” was created through a partnership between the Queens College Division of Education and Queens Museum of Art. Rikki Asher, the Director of Art Education, Secondary Education and Youth Services at Queens College, said that it is rare for teachers to have their works exhibited in a public space and even rarer for those works to be displayed with pieces by their students.

Asher said she thought the works were “incredible,” adding that they were “high quality and so thoughtful.”

“I’m hoping this exhibit fosters more art teachers to continue to make art and also to engage children in making more art,” Asher said, noting that she hopes there will be more opportunities for students and teachers to exhibit together.

Of more than 200 submissions, 51 pieces were selected to be a part of the show. The exhibit was first displayed at the Queens Museum of Art. A smaller version with 18 pieces, from eight local schools, opened at the Queens College on April 14 and will remain on display for about a year.

“It’s such a privilege to have the works of students and their teachers from Queens here to remind us about what we do in the Department of Education – preparing teachers,” said Dean of Education Francine Peterman. “It’s very delightful to see all these different ways of viewing the world.”

P.S. 63 fourth grader Hillary-Nana Adjei’s painting “Lava Tree” is one of the works on display at Queens College. This marks the first time she has shown any of her work.

“I was excited,” she said of being selected. Adjei also said that it was nice to be able to show her work with her teacher, Maria Panotopoulou.

Panotopoulou said, “It’s great to see the talent children have.”

Being a part of “Queens: Multiple Visions” has taught Adjei that she should always try to do her best, she said. She also said it has motivated her to do more art.

P.S./I.S. 268 art teacher Borinquen Gallo said her students were “ecstatic” about the exhibit. She added that it validates their work and puts the students and teachers on equal standing, since she believes they are both artists.

“I was thrilled because teaching art [is] sort of a symbiotic relationship,” Gallo said. “I give a lot to the students but the students give a lot back to me. We inspire each other.”

Peterman said she would like to do this exhibition every two years.

“I hope that it gives them a sense of being creative, productive citizens whose work is highly valued by their friends and others throughout the community,” Peterman said.

“Queens: Multiple Visions” will be on display through March 14, 2012 in Queens College’s Powdermaker Hall, Dean of Education Suite 100. The campus is located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard in Flushing.