Jay Stream Middle School Presentation and Performance

When I was asked by teacher, Vicki LaMontagna to perform at Jay Stream Middle School I wondered how 6th, 7th and 8th graders would respond to the process of translating music into a painting.

First, through a slideshow presentation, I took the students on my journey which lead me to my inspiration of using music as my subject of choice for my art. I shared the fact that the song Crazy by Seal was the first piece I had created in my music-inspired project, a project which continued with songs inspired by Carlos Santana, Jill Scott, Monday Michiru and others. Knowing full-well these kids probably had never heard of these artists (I believe crickets were chirping) I asked, "does anyone know any of these singers?" Of course the answer was a resounding, "NOOOO."

No sweat, I continued to the next slide. When the next slide revealed John Legend, Maroon 5, Jessie J, Sam Smith and Adele, singers who had inspired more recent paintings the gymnasium erupted into cheers and applause (the sweet sound of youth adoration). I continued to explain my process of listening to music to produce my pieces in the studio showing them slides of previous works. With each image on the screen I posed the question "what do you see?" and asked if they could guess the song. They began pointing out colors and shapes. A consequent slide revealed lyrics which lead to answers being yelled out from my eager audience, "It's Payphone! "That's Waves!" I discussed the differences between painting in the studio and performance and then segwayed seemlessly into the show.

I asked my favorite violinist, Edith Yokley, to accompany me and after deciding to use instrumental versions of songs by Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Rihanna and other popular artists, as our foundation, Edith would then highlight each song with flair from her electric violin. JSMS students were unexpectedly INTO the performace! Their enthusiasm and questions not only about my work but about the violin was so refreshing and positive! I am so thankful I had the opportunity to open minds to an alternate way of creating art. The experience lit a fire in me and I was pleasantly surprised by the comments that Edith and I received as the kids walked by the finished pieces. A number of very gracious students thanked us for coming. Jay Stream Middle School has some great kids!

HEADER IMAGE top: Artist, Stacy Bowie paints to the music of violinist, Edith Yokley in the gymnasium of Jay Stream Middle School during a live painting performance.
PAINTING CLUSTER from far left clockwise: Painting created for the 6th Grade Performance included songs: Rather Be by Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne; Ain’t it Fun by Paramore; Maps by Maroon 5 and One Last Time by Ariana Grande. Painting created during the 7th Grade performance included songs: Lights by Ellie Goulding; Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars; I Found You by The Wanted; Only Girl in the World by Rihanna and Spark the Fire by Gwen Stefani. Painting created during the 8th Grade performance included songs: Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michelson; Only 1 by Ariana Grande & The Weeknd; Teenage Dream by Katy Perry; La La La by Sam Smith & Naughty Boy; Burnin Up by Jessie J. featuring 2 Chainz.

MAY 2015, tags: painting performance, middle school, Jay Stream, art, music2art