Exploring with the Artist: Kehinde Wiley (2018)


Ms. Pazrena, Faculty Contributor

On Friday, October 19th, three McCluer High School Students (Imani Greene, Lanae Connelly, and Santia Maderios) and art teacher (Michele Motil Pazarena) were part of a very special field trip to the St. Louis Art Museum.  After an application process, McCluer High School was selected as one of the participating High Schools for the Exploring With The Artist: Kehinde Wiley event. Each selected school was limited to 3 participating students. In all, 19 students from the St. Louis Region, were able to meet artist, Kehinde Wiley.  These students and their accompanying art teachers were the first visitors to see the new exhibition of Kehinde Wiley’s work that is currently featured at the St. Louis Art Museum.

  While visiting the gallery, the students were able to meet Kehinde Wiley, listen to his explanation of the exhibit, and ask him questions.  The rest of the day, the participating group of students and art teachers worked on self-portraits with painter, Robert Ketchens.

 This was a very interactive day, thinking about art, the communication of what visual art can be, and the self expression of making art that features the students as the artist and model.  Some of the paintings in the Kehinde Wiley Exhibition feature residents from the town of Ferguson (as the models in his paintings).  Kehinde Wiley is the artist who was selected by President Barack Obama to paint his Presidential Portrait that now hangs in the Smithsonian Institute.