Asheville School students taking visual art as their spring afternoon activity recently had the opportunity to learn new techniques from Asheville painter Dustin Spagnola. The muralist taught students about the art and history of graffiti, techniques for painting with aerosols, and mural painting.
In May, Asheville School's Fine Arts Department is putting on an interdisciplinary arts production, "Looking Out, Looking In." The performance features original work by students and guest artists. Visual arts students, along with Spagnola, created a series of murals that will be used as set pieces for the show.
Students loved learning about graffiti and aerosol murals. "We thought about letters as art," said senior Gwyn Morse. "Graffiti is all from classic letter structures—all the letters have to be based in that. I thought it was really interesting that we went back to a core of letter building to make our own graffiti letter style."
Each student created two stylized words that tie back to the performance's focus on community, diversity and connection. They then worked together to mesh their artwork in order to make a cohesive whole.
"My words were 'faith' and 'love,'" said junior Amelia Leapheart. "I learned that this kind of art requires precision. I learned how to make color stand out and how to work with other people. We had to really collaborate to make something that didn't distract from other people's work."
Chair of Fine Arts Kathy Leiner loves creating opportunities for art students to collaborate with professionals in the Asheville arts community.
"Our community arts initiative creates opportunities for students to practice their technical skills alongside professional artists," she said. "But even more than that, the arts are driving students' connection to the community through the processes of making, presenting, and reflecting on their work."See students' recent work with Spagnola for use in "Looking Out, Looking In."