LEAP student working in the Learning and Engagement Studio, 2020.
LEAP student working in the Learning and Engagement Studio, 2020.

LEAP Middle School Initiative

Lost Islands

LEAP artists, in two bodies of work, consider pattern, form, place, time, and infinity. In the fall session, teaching artist Sukanya Mani introduced Tyvek, an artificial fabric that can be used as both a flat surface or three-dimensional object. The young artists cut, twist, fold, and paint the material, rendering repeated patterns and giving flat forms dimensionality with hints of the infinite. During the spring session, teaching artist Janie Stamm led LEAP to create the Lost Islands, complete worlds constructed from cardboard and papier-mâché. The islands are imagined and designed as idealized spaces with their own unique topographies, ecologies, and histories. The paintings of Derek Fordjour, also built from humble materials, serve as inspiration. The spring session was cut short due to COVID-19 and the exhibition includes various islands in different stages of completion, as projects remained unfinished as our community transitioned to shelter in place.

Designed for the young artist interested in an in-depth exploration of contemporary art practices and mediums, this free ten-week-long after-school program gives students the opportunity to work closely with professional St. Louis-based artists and educators in an atmosphere of focused attention and mentorship. Fifteen students from the greater St. Louis area are selected to focus on one particular contemporary practice or medium each semester.

LEAP Middle School Initiative is generously supported by The Strive Fund; Dana Brown Charitable Trust, US Bank, Trustee; and Crawford Taylor Foundation.

LEAP Middle School Initiative: Lost Islands is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by José Garza, Museum Educator. 2019/20 LEAP artists: Alexa Bishop, Shane Box, Emma Deaton, Saskia Dentman, Samiah Elmore, Jesse Heater, Laila Jaoko, Amora Jones, Abril Kaisin, Fern Kanak, Ivy Kanak, Cozzette Motherhead, Zenga Stroff, Sanai Todd, Oliver Vollman, and Yaa Williams.

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