TORRES HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS CREATE ART FOR THE HUNTINGTON
||Torres High School students Sonia Torres and Albert Chavez working on photography project for a 1,000-foot-long fence at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo: Susan Simpson|
May 14, 2013
SAN MARINO, Calif. —An innovative partnership between The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and East L.A.’s Esteban E. Torres High School has produced some pretty snappy results: An exhibition of photography by students that will be displayed along more than 1,000 feet of construction fence surrounding The Huntington’s Education and Visitor Center.
The students’ artwork was unveiled today at an event marking the culmination of the collaboration, the first of a series of activities The Huntington and Torres aim to do through their “2nd Campus” program.
“At a time when so many headlines suggest that K–12 education is in dire straits, we’re seeing proof of what can happen when you give students and teachers a little support and a lot of license,” said Steven S. Koblik, Huntington president. “We’re delighted with the results and are equally pleased that we will soon have an expansive display space on which to present them.” The construction fence will be adorned with life-size photographs of students holding the photographs they created. It goes up in early June.
The work will be on display through early 2015, when construction of the new Education and Visitor Center is expected to be complete.
For the fence project, The Huntington and Torres High established an Artist-in-Residence program in the fall of 2012, bringing in CalArts professor and professional artist Susan Simpson to help mentor high school students and their teachers.
Students took photographs—at both The Huntington and in their neighborhoods—that were based on elements and themes they found compelling, inspiring, or provocative. The goal of the project was to give students real-world experience through project-based learning opportunities. Students engaged in the project as if they had been hired by clients: conversations and work groups focused on the steps they might take and challenges they might confront as professional artists or graphic designers. They focused not only on technical aspects, but also on the process of getting the work done. More specifically, they grappled with issues of storytelling, point of view, portrait photography, model releases, lighting, storyboarding, graphic design, and project scheduling.
As part of the project, students also had a unique opportunity to work with Ture Lillegraven, an award-winning international photographer.
“Using the amazing collections here—be they botanical, art, or rare books and manuscripts—we believe we can help increase teachers’ understanding of the content they’re teaching and ultimately help students in crucial ways,” said Catherine Allgor, Nadine and Robert A. Skotheim Director of Education at The Huntington. She added, “But this truly unique fence project has been especially rewarding—having engaged the students so profoundly that the results are self-evident—hundreds of feet of bold and deeply moving self-portraits. They stop your heart to look at them.”
The Torres-Huntington Partnership is made possible by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation.
About the 2nd Campus Program
Using the collections of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 2nd Campus aims to increase K–12 teachers’ content knowledge and improve student test scores and graduation rates while increasing awareness of the range of career paths in the arts, humanities, and botanical science.
About the Esteban E. Torres High School complex
Located in Los Angeles, the Esteban E. Torres High School complex consists of five independent schools: Engineering & Technology, Social Justice, Performing Arts, Humanitas, and Renaissance. More information about each of the schools can be found online at estebantorreshighschool.com.