LIHU‘E — The COVID-19 pandemic had all the art supplies locked away, said Penny Nichols, an art instructor with Island School Wednesday during a virtual field trip to the Kaua‘i Society of Artists gallery at the Kukui Grove Center.
“This forced me to be creative,” Nichols said. “There were lots of old TGI, and instead of using it to wrap things, the result is a ‘self-portrait with Too Much Information’ using collage.”
Nichols said her class, this time numbering 19, normally takes a field trip to various KSA exhibits. But because of the pandemic restrictions, Nichols opted to participate in a virtual field trip with Carol Meckling serving as the guide at the gallery.
Students on the Island School end had technical difficulties connecting through WiFi, but ended up viewing the 30-minute tour on the class’s large-screen television, asking questions to Nichols who relayed them to Meckling for discussion.
The tour touched on nearly every one of the curated pieces, the pair having enough time to point out pieces connected to Island School as well as technical aspects of the artwork like the Bon Moore “Vessel of Dream” that is created using hand-extracted fiber from coconut husk, and sansevieria, and clay.
“Have you seen how small coconut fibers are?” Nichols said. “And what is sansevieria? It’s the Mother’s-in-Law plant. There are fibers in there she used. And ceramic? You know this piece took a long time to create, and if you’ve seen others by Bon, the ones having black is using her own hair.”
Meckling was pleased with how smoothly everything flowed during the period she was gallery sitting.
“I love doing this,” she said. “If I knew other art teachers out there, we could possibly do this for them as well.”
Nichols, too, was pleased with the outcome.
“I got a brand-new Macbook Pro and I didn’t even know how to use the speakers,” she said. “Thanks to my high school techies, I didn’t realize how much we can do with it.”
Meckling said she wished she could meet the students in person, setting up the possibility of a reverse virtual tour where once students have their projects complete, a virtual field trip could be arranged with other people.
The potential is limited by the mind.