You need not go far to find a concentration of art featuring a variety of traditional works by Rush County artisans. There is a neat legacy right here at Benjamin Rush Middle School. And who knows what new and exceptional art pieces will be added in the years ahead.
Since 2008 Benjamin Rush Middle school has sought to create an atmosphere of visual and tactile exposure to art for its students. Why? It’s all a part of the immersion process. Students are afforded the opportunity to learn about, create, and evaluate visual art in various settings. Teachers in all disciplines have the opportunity to utilize visual art to augment school curriculum and develop lessons, while enhancing the teaching of state and national standards.
A grant from the Rush County Community Foundation in 2008 helped launch the art experience with the purchase of six sculptures placed in the media center. In addition 20 prints of masterpieces of American Art were added. In 2009 a grant from the Foundation allowed for the purchase of four photographic prints of Rush County scenes from Photography by Green. That same year, pyro graphic artist Carolyn Rushton of Glenwood donated a pyro-engraved kettle gourd. Stained glass by local artisan Marcus Strobl became another part of the BRMS art experience in 2010.
The most recent addition to Benjamin Rush Middle School takes in the look and feel of fabric. Donations from the BRMS Cub Club and the BRMS Student Council along with a grant from the Rush County Community Foundation were the basis for the creation of the Lone Star Log Cabin Quilt. What was once a huge blank wall is now filled with the colors of Benjamin Rush Middle School. The quilt, pieced by Goldie Keith and hand quilted by Rosa Raber not only adds color but also tells a very important story. The hanger for this new piece of art was designed by Scott Holloway. Log cabin quilts traditionally have a red or yellow center square which is said to represent the warmth of the home. A black center square was used in log cabin quilts that were hung outside of buildings during the Civil War. Their presence was a sign that the building was a safe haven for runaway slaves. The block of a log cabin quilt is sewn starting with the inside square, building outwards to the edges of the block. This symbolizes the process of building a home, starting with the warmth of the family’s love in the center. Log cabin quilts also utilize the progression of lights and darks to represent the sunny side of a house as well as the side in the shade.
Georgia O’Keeffe said, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way - things I had no words for.” Through the arts, current and future BRMS students will find their voice and learn yet another way to express themselves. And yes, this is one more reason why Rush County Schools are a great place to be.
Marianne Scott is the Legacy Fund director/Information officer with Rush County Schools.