Akiba-Schechter’s summer program hosts gallery opening

Sylas Lussier, 5, talks about a sculpture he created that is inspired by Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” sculpture during a preschool summer art gallery opening at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, 5235 S. Cornell Ave., on Thursday, July 27. – Owen M. Lawson III

Staff Writer

Preschool students at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., displayed sculptures with different materials during the school’s summer gallery opening on Thursday, July 27.

The gallery opening is a culmination of what children enrolled in the school’s summer program have learned about the beauty that surrounds them, according to Carla Goldberg preschool director.

“We’re very inspired by the children and the depth of what they can do,” Goldberg said.

Since the start of the program this summer, Goldberg said that sculptures were something they wanted to focus on this season.

“We discovered that it was the year of public art in Chicago,” Goldberg said.

The summer program has 85 children, and they examined different types of sculptures and materials while drawing inspiration from public art installations in Hyde Park.

Children got the opportunity to visit the Smart Museum, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., and Jackson Park to see Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing.”

Preschoolers, older students, and parents were present at the gallery on Thursday.

Each child in the program between the ages of one and six displayed their pieces that included photos and descriptions of their experience and the materials that they used.

Lilia Bloom, 3, works on her art piece during a preschool summer art gallery opening at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., on Thursday, July 27. – Owen M. Lawson III

Arundhati Srimani, a teacher at Akiba-Schechter, had a class with four to six year olds and the class created sculptures that were a replication of the earth. The idea was for students to think about the world and what characteristics they believed it should have.

“There are so many things happening in the world,” Srimani said. “We wanted to capture our children’s honest perception of the world.”

Children in Srimani’s class expressed that “they wanted to build the world with friends, love, and superheroes.”

The globe sculptures are mixed media and were made using paper mache, organic paint, and materials from the school.

One student, Srimani said, built their world with cupcakes “because cupcakes are sweet and she wants people to be sweet to each other.”

“It is about what children can do they are competent and capable,” Goldberg said. “If you provide them with the materials, opportunity, support and believe in them, then anything is possible.”

Goldberg said they would keep up with the discussion of sculptures this school year.

“We believe we will have a thread of studying sculptures throughout the year and hoping to integrate that into ideas about Jewish holidays and nature,” Goldberg said. “We will continue this work in our preschool.”

Also featured at the gallery opening were stations where children could continue to create sculptures.

A tall community sculpture was placed in the middle of the room. The sculpture featured handprints from children in the program and their signatures.