“Fearless Girl” Sculptor, Kristen Visbal, Inspires Cadets to Notice the Movement Around Them

visbalThe “Fearless Girl” sculpture placed as the opposing force against the Charging Bull on Wall St. was created by artist Kristen Visbal and became an iconic landmark almost overnight. SMA Prep cadets asked questions to learn about her journey as an artist and her passion to promote the value of gender and cultural equality worldwide.

Planning, completing projects and speaking engagements are abundant since “Fearless Girl” occurring in Norway, Germany, and Africa. Cadets were fortunate to share some precious time with Ms. Visbal. Jumping right in with questions, cadets were curious about what inspired “Fearless Girl”. Ms. Visbal explained that she responds to realism, was meticulous about measurements, and that her friend’s daughter Ellie inspired the figure.  She likes to work from real life as much as possible and the real young girl also had the right attitude.

Originally commissioned as part of an ad campaign to promote gender diversity in business, the statue was installed on March 17, 2017, the day before International Women’s Day. Ms. Visbal went on to explain that the young girl sculpture was to represent the future of what women in business could become and was requested in bronze to be an imposing figure in response the Wall St. bull.

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Cadets are always curious to ask those that have pursued their passions if they ever failed at what they do. Ms. Visbal responded, “Every time I make a sculpture, I look at it and say I should have done this or that. After 20 some years, I learned to accept it and release it and move on. You get smarter as you go.” About another trying experience she recalls, “I lost an installation and I cried but telling the story helped to cope and then I started to exercise and eat right and I move on.”

She admitted to not liking school overall but did like history because her teacher was a good storyteller. She also loved art so much and enjoyed time to herself . She once got approval with a note from her mom to work on her art at home. What inspires her as an artist is marine-life and movement. As an artist, she notices movement in her surroundings and tries to capture moments in time. This explains the movement of wind in the skirt of “Fearless Girl”.

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Ms. Visbal explained her larger goals as an artist and the impact she hopes to have in the world in response to being asked if she ever thought “Fearless Girl” would become such a big deal.  She explained the initial commission and installation was only supposed to be 4 days but turned into a permanent fixture in NYC and a favorite tourist selfie spot that also sends a powerful, global message of gender equality.

Ms. Visbal’s is currently focused on what is going to have the biggest impact on gender and cultural equality.  Promoting the value of leadership for women and equal pay and education in the workplace for all.

Ms. Visbal set a goal for cadets to, “go out today and look for the motion around you, capture an instant in time, and one day choose a career you are passionate about.  One that allows you to have a positive impact in the world.”

Learning in Action: Nature as Art Inspired by Environmental Artist, Andy Goldsworthy

SMA Prep artists tried their hand at creating outdoor sculptures inspired by the work of environmental artist, Andy Goldsworthy. SMA-CPT Pam Kok developed this unit in her Visual Arts classes to support the campus-wide initiative Project Earth. Exposure to making deeper connections to nature fits in perfectly with the overall goal of building compassionate and caring environmentally conscious individuals.

The budding environmental artists enjoyed the process of using patterns, textures, and natural materials to create art. Cadets offered some insights into their experience:

  • “It was fun to keep adding to other materials as we got more ideas.” I enjoyed that everyone made something different.
  • “It was fun, and we used teamwork. We had so many ideas once we joined our ideas together.”
  • “We used creative thinking. I liked the different colored rocks and leaves.”
  • “I liked that we were building outside. We used logical thinking to come up with a plan and then added on to it.”

The classes hope to place installations around campus to share their ideas and the importance of everyone recognizing a connection to the nature around them.

About Andy Goldsworthy

“Using the temporal materials as the reflection of the world we live in, Andy Goldsworthy collaborates with nature creating ephemeral works which remain immortalized only on photographs. Traveling around the world in a quest for perfect environment, he strives to understand nature by his direct participation, enjoying the freedom provided by the possibility to create something just using his hands and material that is within reach. His outdoor sculptures of snow, ice, leaves, rock, clay, feather and twigs represent the idea of change, movement, growth, and decay that is the vitality of nature, the driving energy that he tries to elicit through his pieces. Using the earth as a source, he makes art sensitive to every process that happens around us. Nature and land are in a state of change which itself is the key to understanding.” (www.widewalls.ch)

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Cadets used Andy Goldsworthy’s outdoor sculptures as inspiration for their own creations

About Sarasota Military Academy Prep

Sarasota Military Academy Prep is a public charter, middle school and authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, providing students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org

About Project Earth

Project Earth is a student and faculty-driven collaborative effort spearheaded by Agri-Science, the Interact Club, and Project Inspire. Our goal is to become an Eco-School, a new certification backed by the National Wildlife Federation. It is a seven-step process that requires audits in twelve sustainable categories such as water consumption, energy use, and campus biodiversity. The certification would be a year-long effort that would promote environmental awareness of the cadets and a chance to lessen the carbon footprint of our school. To find out more about upcoming speakers visit Project Earth

 

SMA Prep Receives 14k in Education Foundation Grants!

SMA Prep did well this year receiving the Education Foundation’s school-wide $10,000 grant along with four $1,000 classroom grants!

SMA-MAJ Todd Brown, Individuals & Societies and Civics: The grant Project Earth received the $10,000 school-wide grant! SMA Prep was selected from 24 school-wide grant proposals. The Project Earth grant’s aim encompasses a school-wide effort towards Eco Certification that extends opportunities to all grades and subjects through embedded curriculum, field trips, and community outreach programs using the underpinnings of STEM and literacy as a driving force to improve SMA Prep’s carbon footprint and community outreach through involvement with local environmental public organizations. 

SMA-MAJ Billy Hodges, Design: “My grant is for the purchase of digital video cameras for the PREP World News program. These cameras will be used by our field news teams to interview sports team members and coaches, video highlights of football, basketball, and volleyball games, teachers and classroom events, school events (Outbreak and others), etc. Those interviews and clips will then be edited down to 30-45 second segments that will be incorporated into the daily live news show.”

SMA-CPT Pam Kok, Visual Arts:  “My grant is a Kickstarter grant called Figure it Out! We will be able to buy a classroom set of artist manikins so that each cadet can have one to use when learning to draw people.  Drawing the human figure is challenging, but very rewarding for young artists when they learn to draw realistic-looking people.  The wooden manikins will also be available for the design teachers when they create stop-action videos.”

SMA-MAJ Carol Pelletier, Language & Literature: “The grant is titled Got Books? The grant will support the purchase of a classroom library that includes nonfiction and fiction titles that are appropriate and interesting to middle school students. In addition, the titles that were selected will support the units currently taught in both 6th and 8th grade.”

SMA-MAJ Deb Walker, Design and AgriScience: “My grant is Decompo Depot. Cadets will grow mushrooms and set up earthworm farms. The project calls for dark spaces and it occurred to me I could use old files cabinets!”

About SMA Prep

Sarasota Military Academy Prep is a public charter, middle school and authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, providing students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org

About Project Earth

Project Earth is a student and faculty-driven collaborative effort spearheaded by Agri-Science, the Interact Club, and Project Inspire. Our goal is to become an Eco-School, a new certification backed by the National Wildlife Federation. It is a seven-step process that requires audits in twelve sustainable categories such as water consumption, energy use, and campus biodiversity. The certification would be a year-long effort that would promote environmental awareness of the cadets and a chance to lessen the carbon footprint of our school. To find out more about upcoming speakers go to Project Earth

SMA Prep Cadet’s Art Makes a Big Splash at 2017 World Rowing Championships

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Sarasota Military Academy Prep is very proud to have SMA Prep-Cadet Adriana Chavez’s vibrant artwork on display at the 2017 World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park! Adriana’s work is installed as an impressive 15 x 20 foot banner that conveys the themes of Portuguese culture and rowing.

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SMA-CPT Pam Kok invited 130 art and yearbook club students from SMA Prep to attend the World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park.  They were able to view artwork created by students from Sarasota and Manatee County, displayed to welcome the athletes from more than 70 countries participating in the event.  The Prep was asked to create a banner design for Portugal, and Adriana Chavez’s work was chosen.

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SMA-CPT Kok shared why this even was so worthwhile for her students. “Artwork created with a purpose and presented to welcome athletes from around the world shows the students what a goodwill gesture looks like. For the kids to see their peers celebrating each other’s art was very impressive”.

The cadets watched several rowing races from the grandstand. They waved flags and cheered enthusiastically for the U.S. men’s and women’s teams. Afterward, they toured the grounds, picked up some free souvenirs, and were entertained by some U.S. Servicemen who showed them some cool martial arts moves.  SMA Prep is very proud of the cadets who were respectful and well-behaved and represented our school positively while off-campus.

Many thanks to Embracing Our Differences, who sponsored the banners, buses, and our admission for the event. The program “envisions a world that embraces diversity, respects differences and actively rejects hatred and prejudice”.

About SMA Prep

Sarasota Military Academy Prep is a public charter, middle school and authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, providing students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org

About Embracing Our Differences

Embracing Our Differences is a not-for-profit organization that uses the power of art and education to expand consciousness and open the heart to celebrate the diversity of the human family. It accomplishes this through an annual, large-scale outdoor juried art exhibition and a comprehensive series of educational initiatives, programs, and resources designed for teachers and students. To find out more visit www.embracingourdifferences.org