Presented by Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s Learning and Engagement Department, this exhibition features artist Rontherin Ratliff in collaboration with 4th and 5th grade students from ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron Academy.
Artist Rontherin Ratliff spent two weeks with 4th and 5th graders from ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron Academy this fall. During the residency, students recounted personal experiences that were incorporated into their artwork. Ratliff facilitated story time using “More Than One Story,” a card deck with multilingual story prompts designed to build empathy across age and language. Each student (paired with a classmate), took turns telling their story and listening to their partner. After sharing stories, students chose a color, shape, number and feeling that was representative of their story. These attributes were then used to inform elements of their art making.
Next, Rontherin Ratliff explored the theme “sense of place” with students through sculpture. Ratliff presented plans for an abstracted sunrise sculpture set to be installed on Bullard Ave. in New Orleans East. Students worked collaboratively with Ratliff to construct a mixed media sculpture referencing the public sculpture. Students started the project by tracing each other’s hands and cutting them out from cardboard. Selecting from a range of media, students finished their sculptures with the colors, textures, shapes and numbers that were reflected in their stories. Ratliff incorporated students’ cardboard and multi colored hands into the larger installation.
At the heart of Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s mission is the goal to provide educational opportunities for in-depth exploration of the visual arts and culture of the American South. Since 2001, the Learning and Engagement Department has organized artist-in-residence programs, pairing Southern artists with local schools. Working with elementary school students in the medium of the artist’s choice, the artist spends multiple weeks exploring the influence of geography and sense of place. Upon completion of the residency, the students visit the Museum to view their finished artwork installed in the Education Gallery.