Preparing Boys for Life

Middle School art teacher exhibits art inspired by nature

Middle School art teacher Nancy Agati recently participated in the art exhibit We All Fall Down at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education where she highlighted the intersection between nature and art in her piece “Crated and Shipped.”
 
Agati created shipping crates out of wood that showcase the larva galleries of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect from Asia. She also created an interactive map of the U.S. from the infested wood to demonstrate the widespread devastation in our country. Intrigued by patterns in nature, Agati uses natural materials and repetition to create her art, examining how humans interact with -- and impact -- nature. 

Agati encourages the boys in her Middle School classes to make similar discoveries. She works with sixth graders in a mixed media sculpture project: “What from nature would you hold and protect?.”

I ask students to look closely and observe their world in an in-depth and visual manner. Through observation, inquiry, and discussion, we learn to see things from a variety of viewpoints.

“I ask students to look closely and observe their world in an in-depth and visual manner,” said Agati. “Through observation, inquiry, and discussion, we learn to see things from a variety of viewpoints.” She works with the boys to draw upon their own life experiences as they incorporate nature into their art.

Agati uses nature to demonstrate the importance of learning more about the world around us and to show that art can tell a story that makes an impact. She underscores the important role that art can play in bringing awareness to pivotal issues in our world. 

“Visual art can influence, impact, or educate the viewer on so many levels,” said Agati. “Whether through empathy or information, shock or enlightenment, a created image or object has the capacity to initiate dialogue, touch emotions, and alter perceptions. For many of the art assignments that focus on contemporary life, we ask the question: ‘Can art make a difference or change someone's opinion?’ In essence, what is the power of art?” 

Agati’s art will also be on display beginning Oct. 12 in an exhibition entitled FLOW at the Independence Seaport Museum, Penn’s Landing Boat Basin, demonstrating the impact people have had on nature over time.