Staying in step with the FotoFocus Biennial theme of Open Archive, Brazee Street Gallery and a group of high school art students at Cincinnati Country Day School teamed up to develop a photography/glass gallery exhibition. Led by CCD art teacher Carole Lichty-Smith, students used their own original photography to create the glass pieces on display at Brazee’s Gallery, as part of their 2018 FotoFocus exhibition.
Working with budding student artists is nothing new for Brazee Street. And bringing glass into that work with students of all ages is an important part of their mission. Studio Director Leah Busch Rockel says, “Brazee strives to create the space for students to experience glass as an exciting art medium.”
For the Open Archive project, each CCD student’s photograph was printed onto a glass decal, and then transferred onto sheets of glass. They then had the option of adding other colorful glass elements to their designs before they were fired in the kiln.
“This particular type of collaboration is something we strive to create often. We love the students’ fresh perspectives—and the energy they bring to our community at Brazee,” says Rockel.
The studio sees glass as a “transformational material”—and far more accessible than many of us realize. Students were encouraged to consider ideas of perspective and subjectivity with the integration of glass, complicating their original point-of-view of the image. This added depth and meaning to each piece.
Through exploring this medium, Rockel’s desire is to “impact each student artist” in a new way.
“High school students are amazing,” she says. “They’re capable of anything adult artists are, and are often less worried about getting it ‘right,’ so they are more free to experiment without doubting themselves.”
Longtime friends in collaboration, Brazee Street and FotoFocus saw an opportunity to showcase high school students doing exceptional artwork. And bringing local students into the fold not only gives them a high bar to rise up to, but the promise of an full-fledged exhibition.
“To show [work] in a real gallery is something we can offer high school students that they may not have experienced yet,” says Rockel. “For most of them, this will be their first exhibition outside of school. They’re filled with creativity, fearlessness—and we are excited to show the world what they have created using photography and glass.”