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  • Art-All State Program at Worcester Art Museum for 13th Year

    WORCESTER, MASS., May 20, 2000 - Spring brings exciting events for many high school juniors in the Commonwealth, such as attending proms, taking the SATs, and making decisions about what colleges to attend. For those students who excel in the visual arts, spring might also give them an opportunity to participate in the experience known as Art-All State, which runs from June 2-3 at the Worcester Art Museum.

    This program brings together 140 of the state's most talented and deserving students with 16 artist/mentors who work in the Museum's studios to create colossal, collaborative art installations. Since February, the program has had a new coordinator, Sally Francis-Fortin, who says she is excited about continuing the Museum's strong commitment to arts advocacy and arts education.

    "The popularity of Art-All State has expanded, and today's students compete vigorously for a chance to attend," Fortin-Francis says. "This year, 223 students were nominated and participated in intense interviews run by dedicated teacher volunteers."

    With close to 2,000 alumni, the statewide Art-All State fosters the development of art-related careers, often becoming a springboard for students who value the arts and wish to pursue art careers. Two of the artists participating as mentors for this year's program attended Art-All State as high school juniors in 1987, the first year of the program.

    As part of Art-All State 2000, world renowned tape artist Michael Townsend will return to Worcester for the sixth year to create a 30-foot tape mural on the facade of the Museum's Lancaster Street entrance. Townsend will use a blue, low-adhesive, biodegradable artist's tape to "draw" on the walls of the Museum, creating a special opportunity for students to witness a dramatic work in progress. Tape Art is public art at its best, being accessible and free to everyone who passes by the building.

    Townsend recently became a professor at his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design. One of his most extensive projects to date measured 52,000 square feet and was part of the Museum's Centennial Celebration in 1998. To find out more about Townsend and his Tape Art, check out www.tapeart.com.

    Art-All State 2000 receives support from the Massachusetts Director of Art Education, the Massachusetts Art Education Association, and the Worcester Art Museum. Generous gifts from the David Freelander Memorial Education Fund sustain the program, as do the donations from the Crayolla Corporation, Maurice the Pants Man, and numerous other area businesses. Finally, the dedication of the state's arts educators, who nurture and prepare the students, and many of whom spend numerous hours volunteering for the preparation of the festival, make it a wonderful celebration.

    Museum Background

    Opened to the public in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum is the second largest art museum in New England. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Throughout its first century, the Worcester Art Museum proved itself a pioneer: the first American museum to purchase work by Claude Monet (1910) and Paul Gauguin (1921); the first museum to bring a medieval building to America (1927); a sponsor of the first major excavation at Antioch, one of the four great cities of ancient Rome (1932); the first museum to create an Art All-State program for high school artists (1987); the originator of the first exhibition of Dutch master Judith Leyster (1993); and the first museum to focus its contemporary art programs on art of the last 10 years (1998). The Museum's hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission: FREE for members; Non-members: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors and full-time college students with current ID; FREE for youth 17 and under; FREE for everyone Saturday mornings 10am-noon sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company. For more information, call (508) 799-4406 or visit the Museum at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester.

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