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Webb art program brings ‘different perspective’

Knoxville painter and printmaker David Wolff began displaying some of his paintings in Webb School of Knoxville’s Upper School Gallery Thursday, March 6, marking the conclusion of his five-week tenure at Webb School as Spring 2008 artist-in-residence.

Webb’s Artist-In-Residence Pro-gram is a four- to six-week, on-campus teaching and learning experience for Webb students, featuring nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. The program, which takes place every fall and spring, provides students with a view into the real world of art by exposing them to professional artists and inspires them to explore their own creative abilities.

A graduate of The University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in painting, Wolff has shown his work at Taller Galleria Fort in Cadaques, Spain; the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University; the Wood Memorial Library in South Windsor, Conn.; the Art Center in Nacogdoches, Texas; and had a solo exhibition at the Slocumb Gallery at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

He is the owner and director of Fluorescent Gallery in Knoxville, which showcases local artists’ works, including artworks by UT graduate and undergraduate students.

While Wolff has worked with UT art students, his residency at Webb is the first time he has had the opportunity to teach younger students, and the experience, he said, has been terrific.

“The kids are really interested and enthusiastic about trying things out,” Wolff said.

Wolff demonstrated various art techniques in Webb’s Lower, Middle and Upper School art classrooms; from collages to drawing to intaglio (plate etching).

Wolff said as an artist, one couldn’t help but feel the young students’ energy and enthusiasm.

“It’s always nice to see people focused and it makes you more focused.

“It sort of pushes your buttons so you’re challenged to look within yourself, creatively,” he added.

For Webb’s art teachers, having artists such as Wolff in residence provides new viewpoints and new ideas for teaching art.

“It brings a different perspective; even different verbiage to the room,” said Webb Middle School art teacher Noel Redmon.

“And it can reinforce what I’ve said to my students. I also think that when there’s somebody the students see as an outside observer who has the title of artist like David, it adds to the credibility of teaching and making art.”

For Wolff, Webb’s Artist-In-Residence Program is a win-win situation. Not only can visiting artists share their knowledge, techniques and artistic visions with the students, but it also forces the artist to look beyond his or her comfort zone. “It makes you think outside of the sphere of your comfort zone,” Wolff said.

“It’s easy to call yourself an artist and be artistic; being in your own little world. But I think the important thing about being an artist is having exposure to the world at large and participating in it,” he added.

Proceeds from Webb’s annual Art Show and Sale fund Webb’s Artist-in- Residence Program.


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