###Contact: Beth Manwaring 607.974.4254 firstname.lastname@example.org Rockwell Museum of Western Art 111 Cedar Street, Corning, NY 14830
Corning, N.Y. - On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, the Rockwell Museum of Western Art will host an opening reception to celebrate the completion of the "Garden of the Spirit" mural done by students of the Corning Area Youth Center. Students' will present their designs and writings which will be on display. A short documentary film and photographs of the project will be shown and refreshments will be served. The public is encouraged to attend. The event is free and open to the public. The Board and staff of the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, in conjunction with the Corning Area Youth Center, continue the Alley Art Project with a new mural called "Garden of the Spirit." The new mural is a continuation of the "Tree of Life" that was painted on the alley façade of Connor's Mercantile in 2010. Barry Nicholson, owner of Connors Mercantile, generously offered the alley façade of his business as a canvas for both murals. The artwork for the "Garden of the Spirit" mural was created earlier this year by students attending the Corning Area Youth Center (CAYC) in after school classes held at the CAYC and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. This project was made possible with support from The Triangle Fund, The TI-GER Fund, and the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. "This program provides an opportunity for students to strengthen their connection to the community in which they live. Students are able to provide a gift to the community of their own artwork and take pride in having their artwork made public. It also brings awareness in the community of the positive growth that is possible for youth through an empowering artistic endeavor," says Director of Education, Gigi Alvare, of the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. Corning Community College student and artist, Katie Serdula, served as Artist-in-Residence, and has worked directly with students through the art-making process. Retired Head Teacher for High School Learning Center of the Corning-Painted Post Area School District, Margie VanVleet, led design classes with the CAYC students and assisted with the painting of the mural. "We hope to provide ongoing opportunities for area youth to create works of art for public display that will be part of their legacy in the City of Corning. We hope to support students in understanding the value of art and aesthetics both personally and culturally and help them understand the role a museum can play as a resource for educational research and art making. As an outcome, students will have the chance to hone social skills as they engage in communication with Museum staff and community members," continues Alvare. The work of the Rockwell Museum is designed to help ensure that all children have successful experiences as they grow up in the community. This is accomplished through the strategic initiative of delivering innovative programs through collaborative relationships. Over the course of the last three years, the Alley Art Project has involved over 100 individuals in the community and several organizations. The Alley Art Project supports student learning of art, aesthetics, and the research associated with the process of art-making - all the while cultivating a sense of pride, ownership, and connection to the community. Research reports that strong arts programs increase student academic performance and social skills. The Rockwell Museum of Western Art, by partnering with area organizations and individuals, is committed to offering students from regional public and private schools an opportunity to enrich their educational experience. About the Alley Art Project The High School Learning Center of the Corning-Painted Post Area School District (C-PP HSLC), in partnership with the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, proposed an "Alley Art Project" to the City of Corning in 2009. After careful deliberation, The Museum, C-PP HSLC, the City of Corning, Corning's Gaffer District and Market Street Restoration offices worked together to move this project forward. Beginning in August of 2009, High School Learning Center students began designs for what became the mural painting, Tree of Life. The Project began with a mural drawn by C-PP HSLC 1+ year students, inspired by Native American symbolism and American Western art found in the Rockwell Museum of Western Art's permanent and temporary exhibitions. Under the direction of the Museum's Education Department, the Alley Art Project was founded between the Museum and the HSLC. Students fulfill mandatory Art and English Language Arts (ELA) credits at the Museum as they create works for public presentation and exhibit. With the support of several grants, the Rockwell Museum of Western Art is able to continue the Project with the CAYC. The Museum is working with the Gaffer District to develop a long-term plan for the expansion of this program over several years, and alley façade buildings.