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FLOCKart is a new mobile art gallery and creative space designed to bring a diverse group of artists directly to school children to enhance arts education with immersive experiences.
The award-winning digital artist for the gallery’s debut exhibition, Fernando Orellana, designed and painted a colorful mural for the exterior of the gallery built from a shipping container. A curated selection of Orellana’s acrylic paintings is on display inside the gallery through October 10th. Public viewing hours are Wednesdays and Fridays 2 to 5 p.m.
Students at WHMS, from pre-school to 8th grade, have been observing and interacting with Orellana while he painted the mural over the past several weeks.
“My focus with the kids is to talk to them about where the images come from and how to draw from imagination,“ Orellana said. “I encourage them to look inward and find those worlds they can create on their own.”
Three other artists, whose work will be featured by FLOCKart later in the school year, will also attend the grand opening. Those artists are: ObaroEne Otitigbe, a fine artist who is also a world record holder in hula hooping; Ritvik Sharma, an Albany-based watercolor artist; and Liz Zunon, a children’s book illustrator who was born in Albany, but grew up in West Africa.
ABOUT ARTIST FERNANDO ORELLANA
Fernando Orellana is an Associate Professor of Digital Art at Union College. His work has been featured in exhibits in major international cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Barcelona, Dublin, Buenos Aires, San Salvador, and Perth.
He is the recipient of the 2015 Public Art Network Year in Review Award, the 2014 Vilcek Foundation dARTboard Award and the 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Arts.
Orellana received a Master of Fine Art from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Fine Art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was born in San Salvador, El Salvador.
FLOCKart is the creation and passion project of Capital Region fine artist Susan Thomas.
Her goal is to bring real-life burgeoning artists and creative art experiences to children and teens, especially to students who may otherwise have limited access to the fine arts. She also hopes to bring attention to a diverse group of up-and-coming artists, by featuring their work in FLOCKart exhibitions.
“FLOCKart’s mission is to bring art to the people,” Thomas said. “There will be a give and take on both sides, as both the artists and the community will benefit from this creative relationship.”
“Bringing art directly to school children will help the community see how art can nurture the soul,” Thomas said. “And giving students an up-close view of art every day — and the opportunity to take deep dives into what the artists have to offer from making robots to painting to illustrating books — I hope will inspire them.”
“FLOCKart is also bringing local artists to the forefront, so people on a wider scale can see their talent,” Thomas said.
The FLOCKart gallery at WHMS is the first of a flock of “bird” units. Each shipping container gallery will be sent out into rural, urban or suburban communities with a different bird name.
FLOCKart EXHIBIT SCHEDULE
Fernando Orellana (acrylic paintings) — Sept. 10 - Oct. 10, 2021
Obaro Ene Otitigbe “Mr. O” — Oct. 15 - Nov. 15, 2021
Ritvik Sharma — Nov. 29 - Dec. 17, 2021
Fenando Orellana (Lego robotics) — Jan. 5 - Feb. 19, 2022
WHMS Curator Club Gallery Shows — March and April 2022
Liz Zunon, May 2 — June 10, 2022
Art teacher Megan Stasi and Lower El Assistant Teacher Sandy Schneider wove rainbows at WHMS and around the Capital District. Fabric for the rainbows was donated by Up-Stitch. The rainbow locations include Madison Park, St. Catherine's, Ridgefield Park, and Woodlawn Park.
Albany Common Councilman and WHMS faculty member Owusu Anane helped them coordinate this project with the Mayor's Office and Parks Department.
Thank you for bringing brightness and smiles, Megan, Sandy and Owusu!