On May 6, 2011, artist Matthew Sontheimer visited Greenhill’s Lower School. Sontheimer, known for his drawing and etching, guest-taught each first grade class. Sitting at a large table, surrounded by eager students, he showed them how to use the shapes formed by the letters in their names to create a unique piece of art. By the end of class, each student had used pencil drawing, tracing and coloring to create a completed work to take home.
Through Sontheimer’s simple exercise, students learned valuable lessons about line, form and color. The students’ eyes glimmered as they learned how drawing a line across the two points of a capital M created a completely new shape. You could visibly see each student internalize Sontheimer’s lessons.
Sontheimer is just one of the many artists that visit the Greenhill campus each year through the generosity of the school’s Cultural Arts Committee, a parent-driven organization dedicated to enriching education through the arts. In the 2010-11 school year, Trenton Doyle Hancock, well-know artist of prints, drawings, and college, visited campus and worked with Upper School students. In January, Michael Albee, a jazz choreographer, worked with the Greenhill Dance Company. Bruce Goldstone, an educational author, taught students how to quickly estimate large numbers.
These guest artists enhance the education experience, not only by sharing new skills, or providing a different perspective from the everyday teacher, but they also act as an inspiration to the students. Each time a guest artist visits, students learn about a possible career opportunity. They learn that by dedicating time to a craft, you will be successful. Because of their own persistence, development, and love of art, three Greenhill seniors will be attending art-specific colleges in the fall: Maryland Institute College of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Parsons: The New School for Design.
Visiting guests, whether artists, academics, or athletes, have a profound impact on the students. Greenhill is lucky that so many are able to visit each year.