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Community. Connection. Color.

Community, Connection and Color
Community, Connection and Color
Community, Connection and Color

Graduate community assistant Paloma Ayala (left) and Whipple Park resident Nadia Learned (right) led weekly art workshops for children and adults who live in the graduate student housing complex, including young residents Eliza Campbell (top left) and, standing next to her, Chesney Dougherty. The creative and colorful works were on display at Whipple Park during a recent art show.

Whipple Park residents celebrate culture through art

Traditional Mexican masks, colorful collages, and scenic watercolors adorned the walls, transforming the Whipple Park Community Center into an art gallery during the first Whipple Park Community Art Show.

Organized by Graduate Community Assistant Paloma Ayala and resident Nadia Learned, more than 80 residents enjoyed hands-on crafts, singing karaoke, and viewing art work created in the community’s art workshops.

During the fall, Ayala and Learned led weekly art workshops for children and adults who live in Whipple Park, a graduate student housing complex located near the Medical Center and River Campus. Both artists themselves, the workshops allowed Ayala and Learned to share their talents, along with their cultures, with their neighbors. Much of the displayed work reflected the diversity of Whipple Park’s residents.

“The works were quite lovely; the different art projects related to different cultures—and the people, young and old, were very proud of their work,” said Laurel Contomanolis, director of Residential Life and Housing Services. “I was thrilled and impressed by this effort.”

In the children’s classes, Learned gave her students a short history on Russian woodcarving. A native of Russia, she brought in books and pieces of art from home that depicted the importance of sun images. Russians place a high value on the sun because of their long winters; something any Rochesterian can sympathize with. After learning about the folk art, students created their own designs. A resident also made a guest appearance at one class, teaching the students to write in Chinese characters.

“It allowed for great connections,” says Ayala. “Many residents may not speak fluent English, but they could understand the art.”

Children and adults worked in a variety of mediums, using oil pastels, acrylic paint, pencil, and markers while learning concepts such as color, pattern, texture, and line.

By holding the gallery event, Ayala and Learned hoped to reintroduce the community to the art lessons. “We’re hoping more artists will give their time so more children and adults can participate,” Ayala adds.

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