Student Creativity Celebrated at Austen Riggs Nursery School Art Show
Red and white star-shaped balloons outside of the Lavender Door Gallery in the late afternoon of Friday, May 20 gave a hint of the celebration contained inside. Artwork created by students of the Austen Riggs Nursery School during this past school year was proudly displayed throughout the gallery. From plaster casts of the children’s hands to mounted papier-mâché pieces with titles such as “Racetrack Loopy Loop” and “Fireball Optimus Prime,” the numerous creations in a variety of media highlighted both the whimsy and also the seriousness of art and art instruction at the nursery school.
The Austen Riggs Nursery School has been a fixture on the Riggs campus and part of its Activities Program for more than half a century. Open to the community, the school is a place where Riggs patients can apply to work as teacher’s aides and provide instruction to the children, in specialized subjects that include art, language, science, music and more alongside and under the supervision of Early Education and Care (EEC) certified teachers. “As teacher’s aides, patients have an opportunity to explore their own strengths as teachers and to witness the developmental process of preschool children,” remarked Nursery School Director Ilana Ackerman. Not only do the students benefit from the instruction, but the work can also become a meaningful part of a patient’s treatment and provide important job training and experience.
The art show, now an annual event, was organized, prepared and executed by one of the teacher’s aides, nursery school staff and Instructor in Visual Arts Mark Mulherrin. Beyond the collected display of art, the opening reception also featured fun games for children and a lively drumming circle led by the parents of one of the students. The students will be gathering on Thursday, June 9 for the annual nursery school graduation celebration.
For more information about the Austen Riggs Nursery School, visit: www.austenriggs.org/austen-riggs-nursery-school.