SmArts is a program that shows high school students what it's like to study art and design at university. This project, ‘city:CHAIR’, treats the urban landscape as inspiration for a public art piece.
SmArts is a three-day program designed to give students an insight into art and design careers, build their confidence and explore tertiary study options. This year students worked together on city:CHAIR, an art and design activity that challenged them to examine Melbourne’s urban cityscape, then reinterpret their observations into public art.
[Additional information] Upbeat music plays throughout. Images of students exploring Melbourne city, visiting the National Gallery of Victoria, and creating and exhibition their artwork are shown throughout.
Duration: 4:00 mins
[Opening title] RMIT University logo
city:CHAIR – A public art installation by students participating in the SmArts creative enrichment program.
Victoria Smith (iBelong Program Coordinator, RMIT University): Smarts is a three-day program that's run in collaboration between The Smith Family and the Equity and Diversity Unit here at RMIT. We work in conjunction with some of our partnership secondary schools and bring students on campus for a three-day experience where they get to taste a bit of what life is like as a tertiary student, and particularly find out more about working and studying in the area of Art and Design.
Sara Aurorae (Program Coordinator, The Smith Family): It really takes them out of that small sort of environment that they usually see and see the bigger picture and that's really a positive thing for them because it provides them with the scope of where they want to go in the future and it gives them that incentive to work a bit harder to get themselves there.
Victoria Smith: We also partner with the National Gallery of Victoria and that's the creative inspiration for the students as part of this program, and also an important cultural institution here in the city.
Grace DiMuzio (Educator, National Gallery of Victoria): At the gallery we have a very specific priority that we would like to give as much access to students who don't have that opportunity.
Student 1: In the exhibition we saw it was about chairs – some you could sit on, some you couldn't sit on.
Student 2: It feels like interesting, makes me feel like I want try to make and stuff.
Grace DiMuzio: It is a very exciting exhibition because it makes you look at the chair in a very different way. It's not just about sitting and being practical it's also an exciting way of to express design ideas.
Victoria Smith: We also work with Grace Leone, who is the curator of the Urban Animators public art installation program. Through her we're able to provide the students with an opportunity to have a piece of public art in the city, which is a pretty special thing to be able to do.
Grace Leone (Curator, NAS Urban Animators: Living Laboratory) The Urban Animators: Living Laboratory public art program was designed to harness and weave the talent of RMIT into the construction of the New Academic Street capital works project. It was a great opportunity to engage with creative secondary school students participating in RMIT’s iBelong Program to facilitate the creation of city:CHAIR a public art installation in the NAS precinct. The process was a collaborative cross-disciplinary art and design activity that encouraged students to engage with the spatial structure and character of a metropolitan city area.
Student 3: We just went outside and started walking with iPads, and we just started taking photos.
Student 4: For my group we took photos of cars and trucks and we're designing chairs for the city.
Grace Leone: Students participated in a city derieve documenting their experience using photography and then reinterpreting their images onto the city chairs; promoting reflection and interaction with the condition of a transforming city environment.
Student 2: I like how the chairs… like how people made the chairs. It was it was really interesting.
Victoria Smith: The outcomes I've seen have always been amazing – what the students can produce in such a short amount of time it always blows me away and for them to be able to display it within the institution and to be able to invite their friends and family to come and see it, it really gives them a sense, I think, of belonging and feeling connected to a tertiary community.
Student 4: It’s really fun coming here because you see all the older kids.
Sara Aurorae: Primarily the feedback that I've received has been a very big difference in their perspective of what they perceive art and designed to be, as well as what university life would possibly be for them.
Student 5: Makes you think about how university is gonna be like and the art industry and stuff.
Sara Aurorae: A lot of them have had the incentive to now want to go to university and they've spoken to me even about potential studies.
Student 1: It makes me feel like it's going to be alright in the future.
A proud collaboration between RMIT University, The National Gallery of Victoria, Urban Animators: Living Laboratory and The Smith Family.
SmArts is a collaboration between students from Wyndam Central College and Hume Central Secondary College, The Smith Family, National Gallery of Victoria, RMIT's SNAP team and NAS Urban Animators: Living Laboratory.
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