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Art Education Graduate Inspires Her Students with “Experience in Art”

Abigail, Experience  in ArtAbigail Mosbarger (BFA/art education ’07) believes that art can be a transformative experience. For a group of high school students in Texas, the impact of the visual arts may even be inspirational.

From art classes to a final showcase, three major works from Del Valle High School art students are now on display at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Experience in Art measures over 24 feet wide and is a multi-media classroom project made in collaboration with the three art instructors, including Abigail at Del Valle High School.

The artwork mirrors the student’s involvement and feelings towards the art they create in class.

“I think this is the first time we have ever exhibited something as large as this before and certainly the first time a collaborative piece like this displayed in a location as public as the airport,” said art instructor Jenny Parry.

The exhibit features triptychs, a work made of three panels made to look like one. A larger than life hand is joined in the showcase by a vibrantly painted portrait and a terra cotta relief.

“We started with materials and mediums each class was working in (charcoal, paint and ceramics). We provided the guidance and support to the students in order for them to create the murals,” said Parry. “We wanted to show how there was unity among the different disciplines of art and that through collaboration large things can be accomplished.”

With each panel, the instructors provided a small picture that represented a student at work creating art. The students then enlarged the image and transferred it to a four foot by eight foot panel using the media they were learning.

“Each panel has unique embellishments that go beyond the mere act of copying an image,” said Javier Barbosa, painting teacher. “The students expressed themselves with choices of color that were non-traditional and very bold. This project gave the students a chance to experiment with forms of expression they had never encountered.”

Abigail, Experience in Art, detail“The ceramic media provided the most challenge to render in two-dimension,” said ceramics teacher Abigail Mosbarger, an Ohio Northern alumna. “So the students created terra-cotta plates that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. A photo of a student throwing a clay pot on the potter’s wheel was used as the inspiration and the students made each plate work together as a single image.”

Each panel shows some aspect of a student working with their hand at creating art. Yet the artwork goes beyond the simple representation of making art. Each panel is a swirling mixture of colors and shapes surrounding the hands at work.

“That’s the chaos and distraction so prevalent in high school,” said Abigail. “The students wanted to show how difficult it is to focus on work and how making art helps them to shut out that high school chaos. But even more important is how this project gives the student a chance to step outside of school with something they value very much.”

Experience in Art is on display through the summer at the gallery window behind the Austin Warehouse District Store across from Gate 10 adjacent to screening checkpoint two.

Currently, Abigail teaches art at Del Valle High School located in Austin, Texas. “I primarily teach a class called Art 1,” describes Abigail. “I teach an insane amount of high school students a day—about 200 kids. But I love it. I go to graduate school. I live in a cool city and feel very loved by the people around me.”

Looking back at her years at Ohio Northern, Abigail stated, “I felt very luck to have gone to Ohio Northern. I knew that I wanted to study art and design. I had the passion for educating and teaching children. And along with this passion, I knew that the faculty in the art department possessed that same passion. That was the deciding factor for me to study there.”

Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second edition of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2009-10 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: The high school student’s work at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and detail of ceramic tiles.