Saturday, June 8, 2019

D&R Greenway's Olivia Rainbow Gallery Presents Vivid Tree Art of Princeton Junior School students, Based on NJ Tree Quilt by Master Quilter Gail Mitchell

D&R Greenway’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery Presents Princeton Junior School Artists – Pre-K through Fifth Grade:

New Jersey Trees: Original Artworks
Inspired by New Jersey Tree Quilt Crafted by Master Quilter Gail Mitchell

WHEN: June 7 through July 3, 2019. Gallery hours Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., closed holidays. 
Student Gallery of D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton

The eloquent New Jersey Tree Quilt crafted by master quilter Gail Mitchell for her English As a Second Language students inspired Pre-K through Fifth Graders to create their own interpretations of state trees.  From the skeletal to the fully leafed-out, vivid evocations of trees special to our state adorn gallery walls.  Princeton Junior School’s Art Studio students tend three pet snails.  Sprightly, colorful snail portraits are interspersed with highly individualistic trees of all seasons. 

The Olivia Rainbow Gallery was founded and is funded in memory of 5-year-old Olivia Kuenne, who would have begun kindergarten at Princeton Junior School on the day of her memorial service. Having attended that school’s pre-kindergarten, a gallery in this young nature artist’s name also graces Princeton Junior School.  The purpose of D&R Greenway’s Gallery is to keep alive Olivia’s spirit and love of nature and art, down through the decades. This gallery’s deep mission is to inspire preservationists of the future, as they study and draw and paint the nature that surrounds us.  One current painting includes an exaltation:  “My big tree” “My colorful tree” “My big and colorful tree!”  That ‘my’, this ownership, is the heart of the matter for Olivia art.

Princeton Junior School teachers have posted New Jersey native, Joyce Kilmer’s, heartening “I think that I shall never see… a poem lovely as a tree” in their classrooms and now on Olivia Rainbow Gallery walls. Second-grade children wrote poems to accompany their trees.  Ryuto: “Everywhere you go/a tree will stand next to you./Appreciate Nature./Hug the tree/in amazing surprise.” Daniel reminds, “Art is a language/all 7.4 billion people understand.”  Israel writes, with his “Dripping from Heaven” – (Willow Tree), “The tree made from God/Life of Nature/Love what you have/Never give up/Love God and Love will start/dripping from Heaven.”

Princeton Junior School teachers reveal that their pre-K through 5th-grade boys and girls chose bright markers and pastels in order to re-create kaleidoscopic effects of Ms. Mitchell’s aesthetic choices.  Children’s illustrator/author, Greg Pizzoli, author of Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur, had recently visited the school.  He revealed that he often hides images inside the pages of his books.  Visitors to the Olivia Rainbow exhibition are urged to “look closely and you might see a dinosaur or two peering out from behind a tree.”  Each grade level chose a different approach – Fourth Graders focusing on moods and emotions evoked by being with trees.  Fifth Graders turned to scientific leaf comparisons and contrasts.

Master Quilter Gail Mitchell uses her art to teach students in regional English as Second Language classes. Her inspired stitchery in the 21st century can be compared to the  function of stained glass art in ancient European churches.  This artist is particularly renowned for originality of design and pulsating colors, which fairly leap off the fabric: