Renowned visual artist and sculptor Ellen Driscoll took time to share her insights and experiences with art students at Riverview High School during a recent workshop. Fresh off of a shift installing her work at the Patriot Plaza construction site, Driscoll presented examples of her work to Jackie Henson-Dacey’s International Baccalaureate Visual Arts class, including elaborate murals and intricate sculptures made entirely of repurposed plastic bottles.
Following her presentation, Driscoll answered questions dealing with everything from her rationale for favoring certain elements and techniques to handling artistic criticism. She urged the students to trust their instincts as they create their art, attributing some of her own inspirations to simply engaging in her craft and handling different materials.
The high school seniors were encouraged to learn through a fascination with art.
“This is an important time in your lives,” she said, and told the students to take comfort in the fact that many of their current interests and passions would pave the way for their future professions. “You already are the person you are.”
Driscoll's mosaic work at Patriot Plaza, "Night to Day, Here and Away," depicts the harsh separations service members and their loved ones endure during deployment. The installation, spanning 50 feet of the ceremonial amphitheater's rostrum, features imagery reflecting the diverse geographic landscapes and multiple time zones in which the military operates. It will be accompanied by a pair of spires adorned with mosaic.
This artist-in-the-classroom experience was made possible through The Patterson Foundation's partnership with The Hermitage Artist Retreat, a nonprofit artist retreat that invites world-class creators for residencies and special Sarasota community engagement opportunities.
Patriot Plaza is designed to impact generations to come and in the process will bring world-renowned artistic minds to Southwest Florida. For this group of budding artists, the wisdom gleaned from this workshop might just provide the outline for their own future masterworks.
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