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Groundwork Arts is very excited to announce an exhibition of abstract paintings by elementary students from Morongo Unified School District, entitled Shape of Color at the 29 Palms Visitor Center. This exhibition, produced in partnership with the 29 Palms Public Arts Advisory Committee, will feature more than 40 paintings by students from 11 schools, with support from 20 MUSD teachers and 12 Groundwork Arts artists. In November, Groundwork Arts introduced students to Joshua Tree artist James O’Keefe, an abstract painter, whose work illustrates the idea that less is more. O’Keefe’s paintings, instead of attempting to represent objects or things that exist in the real world, focus on exploring the relationships between colors and shapes. His newest paintings push the boundaries of the traditional rectangle and are influenced by his experiences in mediation and the desert environment. Taking cues from O’Keefe, students experimented with shapes by deconstructing a cardboard box and using it as a canvas. They then explored the color wheel and learned how to mix their own unique paint colors. Who knew a cardboard box could contain so many cool shapes or that thousands of colors could be created by mixing red, yellow, and blue? Students not only learned about primary, complementary, and analogous colors, but they began to explore color theory and think symbolically about how color and shape can convey a message, mood, or emotion to a viewer. “Students had a blast tearing up cardboard boxes and playing with paint, all while learning new skills and exploring the relationships between colors. It’s no secret our students love making art, but one of the most important experiences we can offer an artist, at any age, is the opportunity to share their art with the rest of the world,” said Rhonda Lane Coleman, director of Groundwork Arts “and we are thrilled that our community will have the opportunity to celebrate these amazing young artists.” The Joshua Tree High Desert is an extraordinarily rich artistic region. Groundwork Arts celebrates this resource and brings professional practicing artists into our schools to provide innovative arts education opportunities to our students, teachers, and families. Each month Groundwork Arts introduces students to a local artist via a specially-produced video, creates an instructional art project inspired by that artist, and employs teaching artists to work directly with students to create their own art. There will be an opening reception on Jan 6, 2024 from 12pm to 2pm. The exhibition will run from January 6, 2024 through April 4, 2024 at the City of 29 Palms Visitor Center, located at 73484 29 Palms Hwy, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277. The visitor center is open weekdays from 10:00am – 4:00 pm and weekends 10:00am – 3:00pm. This project is part of Signs of Courage, a yearlong series of art classes and an installation of art signs that will present positive words of encouragement in response to challenging issues students face. Inspired by local artists. Created by Morongo Unified School Elementary Students & Groundwork Arts Teaching Artists. This activity is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency and Inland SoCal Creative Corps 2023-24 Grant.

January 6, 2024 – Apr 4, 2024

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