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  • 16th Annual Art All-State Teams Local Students with Professional Artists

    WORCESTER, MASS., MAY 13, 2003 - Area high school students are among 147 young artists throughout the state selected to participate in Worcester Art Museum's 16th Annual Art All-State, an intensive weekend institute to be held May 30 and 31.

    Working with 16 professional artists in the Worcester Art Museum's studios, the students will collaborate on colossal art installations. Taking advantage of their surroundings, artists will bring the students into the Museum's galleries and open a dialogue about the art that inspires them. In the studios, students' work will focus on contemporary art forms, the creative process and teamwork. The public is invited to view the students' work at a reception on Saturday, May 31 at 2:30 p.m.

    The application process for Art All-State is rigorous. Massachusetts high schools may nominate up to two 11th-grade students in good academic standing who demonstrate a keen interest in visual art and are deserving of recognition and encouragement. The final selection of Art All-State participants is based upon nomination materials and personal interviews conducted by a panel of art educators. The participants in Art All-State 2003 were selected from a pool of 230 candidates.

    “Art All-State offers students a dynamic environment for exploring art beyond high school,” said Heidi Bercovici, the program's coordinator. “When they arrive Friday morning, the students are all strangers, but once they begin work on their elaborate, three-dimensional installations, the exchange of ideas and camaraderie are instantaneous.”

    In 1988, when the economic climate forced many schools to cut their art curriculum budgets, the Worcester Art Museum aligned with art education advocacy groups to develop Massachusetts Art All-State. It was the first program of its kind in the nation and served as a model for the New Hampshire Allstate Art Festival, founded in 1999.

    To celebrate the Sweet Sixteen anniversary of Massachusetts Art All-State, the Worcester Art Museum has organized an exhibition of postcard art created by the program's alumni. Among the more than 2,200 alumni are professionals working in every aspect of art and design, including full-time artists, art educators, and industrial designers. The exhibition, featuring the current artwork of about 60 alumni and representing each year of Art All-State, will be on view at the Museum from May 29-June 13.

    Alumni's continued involvement in Art All-State demonstrates the program's lasting value. Their praise for the program cites the opportunity to work with professional artists, discover new forms of art, and interact with peers all over the state.

    Several of the program's alumni return to assist with Art All-State as artists/mentors or volunteers. Tom Grady, an artist from Auburn, Mass. and an Art All-State alumnus, serves as an artist/mentor for the 2003 program. Grady, who teaches youth art classes at Worcester Art Museum, earned a BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and has exhibited his work in galleries throughout New England.

    Andy Bell, a 1997 alumnus, will serve as a volunteer chaperone for this year's Art All-State. A Middlefield native, he earned a BFA degree in sculpture from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

    Reflecting on his Art All-State experience, Bell said, “Brainstorming, problem solving, and working together, I got an early idea about what art school would be like... I learned in those two days just how important process was, and in short gained a lot of insight at a crucial time.” Other alumni helping with this year's event include Rachel Cohn, Kristen Hengst, Christine Krahe, George LoCascio, and Phil Price.

    Children's book author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka, a native of Worcester, returns as an artist/mentor. Krosoczka, who attended Worcester Art Museum classes as a youth, has published three picture books, and a fourth is in the works. His books have been recommended by Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly and PBS. He was recently featured in Print magazine as one of the 20 most influential new visual artists under the ages of 30.

    During Art All-State, world-renowned tape artist Michael Townsend will be in residence at the Worcester Art Museum. Townsend uses a blue, low-adhesive, biodegradable artist's tape to "draw" on the exterior wall of the Museum, offering Art All-State participants the chance to view a public art installation in progress.

    Art All-State is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Directors of Art Education, the Massachusetts Art Education Association, and the Worcester Art Museum. A generous gift from the David Freelander Memorial Education Fund helps sustain the program. Art All-State is also made possible with donations from many area businesses, and with the support of art educators from throughout the state.

    Museum History

    The Worcester Art Museum first opened to the public in 1898. Its world-renowned 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. Its extensive year-round studio art and art appreciation program enrolls over 6,000 adult and youth students each year. Public tours are offered Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., September through May. Audio tours are available.

    Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (evening hours sponsored by Commerce Bank), and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and full-time college students with current ID, and FREE for Members and all youth 17 and under. Admission is also FREE for everyone on Saturday mornings, 10 a.m.-noon (sponsored by The TJX Companies, Inc. and Massachusetts Electric, a National Grid Company). The Museum is located at 55 Salisbury St., Worcester, Mass., easily accessible from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), Route 290 and Route 9. Free parking is available near entrances on Salisbury, Lancaster and Tuckerman streets. For more information, call (508) 799-4406.