January 7 2021
Thanks to a collaboration with Syracuse University, about 50 Henninger students interested in Visual and Performing Arts careers have been taking part in a conference series to help them learn more about the opportunities available to them. The collaboration, organized by SU’s Dr. James Haywood Rolling, Jr., included virtual Zoom chats, as well as a planned Spring workshop and Summer Art Portfolio Prep Course and was intended to engage with Henninger student artists about habits of mind, leading a creative life and the artistic opportunities available at SU.
Henninger art teacher Lori Lizzio said the first event, a Zoom meeting with Dr. Rolling, was incredible, as he inspired students by talking about his own back story and his current accomplishments, sharing his artwork and writings.
“The students were fascinated,” Ms. Lizzio explained. “The overall idea [with this collaboration] is to introduce our artists to current artists in our community. The first Zoom was part of a series where different artists will Zoom with our students to discuss life as an artist and how to live a creative life. Dr. Rolling has such a story to tell, and has so much knowledge he was inspiring to listen to. I am so excited for this opportunity!”
Henninger art students said the series has helped renew their own interest in the arts.
“Dr. Rolling’s stories inspired me by showing his culture and the identity behind his art,” junior Rogayah Alamarie said. “I also learned that art could be a way of expressing ourselves in a variety of ways and all it takes is practice to be a master. I am very interested in the summer program available at Syracuse University. It is a chance to be engaged with young artists, and being part of this series will lead to a great life ‘art lesson!'”
“I was impressed by Dr. Rolling’s art presentation and how he showed indirect emotions through art by drawing,” junior Sarah Alamarie added. “He inspired me to draw more and to practice harder because being a good artist is not just about drawing, it is about the creativity and the message the artist is sending to the viewers.”
“I was inspired by his empowering artwork depicting not only the importance of minority artists, but also his own life story,” junior Brian Huynh explained. “Dr. Rolling’s pieces spread awareness about underrepresentation within the art community. As a Black artist, Dr. Rolling shed light on the significance of African-Americans in the arts and modern-day controversies. More broadly, however, I thought about other minorities who could benefit from the same awareness, including Asian Americans and the LGBTQ+ community. It made me realize how special it is for a young child to see their own people pursuing different hobbies in the media. Art can be a powerful tool to break stereotypes and unite us all together, regardless of our different upbringings, environments, and cultures. It can be a window, allowing the audience just a glimpse into the artist’s heart, mind, and soul.”
What a great ongoing opportunity for these SCSD artists!
This press release was produced by the Syracuse City School District. The views expressed are the author’s own.