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Sculptor Inspires West Hartford Students During Artist-in-Residency Program

Sculptor Silas French works with Sedgwick Middle School students. Submitted photo

Silas Finch is working with students at Sedgwick Middle School and Hall High School thanks to a grant from the West Hartford Foundation for Public Schools.

Sculptor Silas French works with Sedgwick Middle School students. Submitted photo

Sculptor Silas French works with Sedgwick Middle School students examining found objects to turn into sculpture. Submitted photo

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West Hartford Public Schools’ Visual Arts Department is excited to announce the arrival of sculptor Silas Finch. With the support of a West Hartford Foundation for Public Schools grant, both Sedgwick Middle School eighth grade and Hall High Visual Arts students will experience the inspiration and artwork of this current found-object sculptor. He will share his creative process during a two week artist-in-residency, “Out of the Landfills: From Scrap Metal to High Level Artistry” with Silas Finch, supported by the Cullina Family Grant. Nicole Maldonado, grade 8 Visual Arts Educator, is the lead teacher in this effort.

From Jan. 19 – 21, Finch worked with students at Sedgwick introducing them to a new way of thinking about visual art as they used metal fragments, everyday objects, images from antique magazines, scraps, and objects. These ordinary materials were given a new identity transcending their strictly utilitarian purposes and became true works of art as sculpture.

Finch works with the students to familiarize them with the history of the “STEAM PUNK” movement, his work and path to establishing himself as an artist through life experiences. He connects naturally with students and creates instant rapport as he shares the stories behind his astonishing works of art. Students make connections to current day life and history and learn the importance of refinement and craft while being challenged to assemble metal objects together without the use of a welding tools or a blowtorch. They have access to this contemporary artist’s insights, skills and decades of experience in creating these magical and thought-provoking sculptures.

Sculptor Silas French works with Sedgwick Middle School students. Submitted photo

Sculptor Silas French works with Sedgwick Middle School students. Submitted photo

After spending a week sharing his art, process, and guidance with Maldonado’s eighth grade art students, Finch will travel to Hall High School to meet the Visual Arts students of art educators Rob Loebell and Rachael Martinelli so that they may take part in this unique and rarified experience.

Ultimately, a collaborative work of art will be designed by Finch as the pieces created by each student are combined as a permanent sculpture. This sculpture will be featured at the district’s town-wide Art Beat reception on March 9 at 4:30 p.m. at the Salt Box Galley on Buena Vista Drive.

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