While art teachers spend much of their time exhibiting their students’ work, this month and next, teachers get to show off their talent.
As part of a yearly exhibit Calcasieu Parish art teachers were each given a mannequin torso to decorate. The exhibit, put on by the Art Associates Gallery, consists of walls lined with decorated limbless torsos and a center table of smaller torsos — done by the teachers at the beginning of the year.
The artwork, which has been on exhibit at the Art Associates Gallery at Central School since Jan. 10, consists of more than 60 creations.
“This is one of the more unique exhibits in the area,” said Executive Director Erica McCreedy. “It’s a great way to have these art educators working in this medium and in this style to not only challenge themselves as artists but also show the areas that link to the curriculum that is currently taught across the parish.”
Art Associates President Bobbi Yancey said the idea for the torsos came out of last year’s exhibit, which featured masks. When looking for props to place the masks on, Yancey and her supervisor found the torsos and decided they would be the perfect canvas for this year’s gallery.
The art teachers were told about the idea at the beginning of the school year in August.
They were first given the smaller torsos to test out ideas before going to work on the larger forms.
Yancey said the reaction from the public and the teachers has been positive. She said it is also a way for them to show their students what they are capable of.
“It’s so important for them to be an effective teacher but also for their students to also see them as artists,” Yancey said. “I think it demonstrates to their students how credible they are as teachers, and it helps them to raise the bar for their students.”
Teachers explored a range of options when creating their torso artwork. Some are decorated in a Mardi Gras style with colorful purple and green beading while others are covered in glass or mosaic tiles. Some torsos are interactive, with lights and sound effects.
Special Projects Coordinator Paul Gonsoulin said visitors have enjoyed seeing the works and that the project has been a successful way for the community to see the teachers’ talent. According to Yancey, several people have even asked about having the torsos travel throughout the parish to give the artists more exposure.
“They felt like it was something they could relate to because we alter our bodies in so many different ways,” Yancey said. “Just the idea of the human body being a canvas is great; the figure is a theme that’s been explored throughout art history, and the response has been very good.”