June 9th: Art Alive

Have you ever imagined what it would be like for a painting to come to life? Perhaps you would enjoy talking with the Mona Lisa or watching a Degas ballerina dance gracefully on stage. This year Addison and I participated in Art Alive for the second time and helped transform oil and canvas into real people.Hosted by the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, Art Alive is an event where you become the painting. School groups, art classes, or even individuals (like me) can choose a painting to recreate using costumes, backdrops, and props. The tableaus are set up on the gallery’s lawn for the public and judges to view and vote on. Many different awards and cash prizes are given at the ceremony at the end of the event. However, it takes months of preparation to be ready for the big day.

Addie and I started working on our Art Alive tableaus in January. Our art teacher, Mrs. Bossert, was the one who introduced us to Art Alive and helped prepare for the event. Addison teamed up with her friend Katie again. Together they chose to do Harmony in Green which is one of Claude Monet’s famous water-lily paintings.

Addie’s painting – Harmony in Green

Last year I did a painting by Charles Sprague Pearce that I really connected with. Unfortunately, I never really used the costume that I worked so hard on again.

The Woodcutter’s Daughter by Charles Sprague Pearce
My 2011 Tableau (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)

This year I decided to do a Civil War painting because, A: I love the Civil War era, and B: I wanted to be able to reuse the dress in reenacting. The painting I picked was called The Initials and was created by 19th century artist Winslow Homer who was famous for his Civil War illustrations and battlefield paintings. The Initials shows the civilian side of war by depicting a lone girl leaning against a tree carved with (presumably) a loved one’s initials.

The Initials – My 2012 Painting Choice

This year Mrs. Bossert helped us brainstorm what painting we wanted to use and how to execute it. Then she guided us in how to paint our backdrops. My dad built my backdrop frame (thanks Dad!) and I sewed the dress.

Working on the backdrop (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
Painting in Mary Ellen’s basement (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)

After months of working hard on our tableaus we arrived at the Albright Knox only to be told the event was cancelled becuase it was raining and windy. We came back the next weekend on a day that was still soggy and wet, but less windy and began setting up our tableaus.

Setting up Addie and Katie’s Tableau (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
Addie & Katie’s Backdrop (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
Setting up my tableau (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
Setting up (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
My backdrop (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
Doing my hair (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)

At noon the audience began braving the weather to come see the tableaus.

Addie and Katie’s Taleau (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
My Tableau (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
My Favorite Pic (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)

To make my tableau interactive, I asked the audience to write their initials on my tree with a piece of chalk.

Audience participation (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)

Mrs. Bossert asked me to show off all my undergarments that I made myself.

Showing off my underpinnings, shocking! (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)

At 2 o’clock the anticipated moment finally arrived, the awards ceremony! We nervously awaited while different awards were announced. Addie, Katie, and I didn’t have to wait long! The girls recieved the award for Best Craftsmanship and I earned the most votes for the People’s Choice Award in the highschool category!

Recieving my award (photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)
(photo courtesy Mary Ellen Bossert)

You can see pictures of the other tableaus here, on the Albright Knox Website.

Thank you Mrs. Bossert for all the pictures!

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