Museum objects inspire haiku’s and exhibition

The SIUE University Museum spread into the Edwardsville community this past Friday with what Museum Director Eric Barnett is calling an artistic dialogue. Barnett helped to create an art exhibit in the Edwardsville Art Center, located at Edwardsville High School, with assistance from Edwardsville high school English teacher Dixie Patrow and her students.

According to Barnett, the idea came to him last year before the students were in school. Barnett set up a time to work with Patrow and her classes. In November, Barnett took a selection of art objects to the class and Patrow had her students write haiku poems based on whatever inspired them from the collection.

Haiku’s are “a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world” according to the New Oxford American Dictionary.

Patrow then passed the haiku’s to Barnett. Barnett stated that he received 171 haiku’s from Patrow and used the haiku’s to help him in his selection for the exhibit.

“When I saw [the haiku’s], I decided to let those haiku’s inform my selection of the objects for the exhibition. So, what we have is an artistic dialogue between the University Museum collection and the students at the high school.”

Barnett stated that when the space was originally conceived for the Edwardsville Art Center there was some hesitancy. He stated that some people were unsure how the space would ever be utilized for the high school students.

“They didn’t see how it could ever be for the students at the high school. They’ve done a lot of shows of local artists. But, now as they are maturing in the space, we are doing something that really brings students into the art center as participants in it,” said Barnett. “So, we are blazing a new trail and it’s a totally new approach for organizing an exhibition for me. I’ve never done this where my choice of objects was predicated on what someone else was doing. I think that it really speaks well of the cooperative feelings among the Art Center and us at the Museum and the teachers at the high school.”

Barnett stated that the idea for the opening night would be a continuation of the dialogue. Students from the class would be able to see how Barnett responded to their haiku’s and would then be able to have a different response to the art objects. Barnett stated that this project has been a positive interaction with the students, teachers, and the Art Center.

“It feels good to get back and to support the local education and to do so without trying to impose what we think the students should be learning about,” said Barnett.

The exhibit of the art and poetry will remain up until February 10th. The Edwardsville Art Center is located at 6165 Center Grove Road in Edwardsville. It is open Wednesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Satuday 11am – 3.p.m., Closed Sunday -Tuesday.

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