“Sports” is currently a hot topic of conversation as we consider if or how best to emerge from our “safer at home” status. There’s a good portion of the population who suffered without an escape into professional sports over the past few months. Many amateur and professional athletes are anxiously awaiting the reopening of gyms and fitness centers. Even confirmed “couch potatoes” were sadden at the decision to postpone this summer’s Olympic games. Certainly the skills, strength and mental focus brought to such activities are qualities to be applauded.
Printmaker extraordinaire Roger Hyndman recognized decades ago that such qualities were not limited only to sports. With that in mind, he created a statewide curriculum for New York State art teachers to help develop team skills, strengthen creative problem solving and hone mental focus through the arts. The curriculum culminates in the Olympics of the Visual Arts, held annually in Saratoga Springs, NY (near Roger’s studio) where students share work they’ve developed to solve “problems” in the areas of architecture, painting, drawing, illustration, sculpture, graphic design and photography. Teams of students from schools around the state are also give “spontaneous problems” to address as a group in the allotted time – problems like “create an original work of art that visually interprets and complements” a poem.
Obviously, this year’s Olympics of the Visual Arts had to be cancelled (the first time they’ve missed it in almost 40 years). If you’re interested in what students were working on throughout the year, take a look at this year’s challenges. Be creative – it’s harder than it appears! To build your muscles up enough to take on the challenge, why not try to “solve” the two spontaneous problems Roger sent along? They’re meant to be completed in an hour and as a group activity – one that can certainly be done virtually as well as in person.
You can see some of Roger’s solar prints and etching at the Flick Gallery when we reopen (safely and soon we hope!). He’s scheduled to teach two classes on his printmaking techniques (bring your own work – paintings, photos or drawings – or create a unique piece to print) at our Sunny Point facility this fall. Check out our website for more information. Keep trying to build those creative muscles!