Virtue in Art

A collaborative piece by Middle School Art students explores the virtue of Temperance in tandem with this year’s theme verse

By Anna MacDonald ’97
Anna Art
Photo by Kylie Mones

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” –James 1:19

Temperance is a collaborative installation, designed and fabricated in one week by participating eighth grade artists, in response to conversations about James 1:19. This verse was chosen to set the tone for the year by Head of School Joshua Crane: “I selected this verse from the Scriptures and shared it with the students at Convocation in hope that this year we take the time to listen, consider, evaluate and then communicate with respect even in disagreement. Our world needs to see communities that embrace civility, charity and humility even in the face of differences.”

The installation comprises four distinct units, designed by teams of three to seven students.

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Photo by Ella Simons ’19

Dear Brothers & Sisters

Fourteen figures suspended in the stairwell allude to community engaging in “the posture of understanding.” A connection between each figure is established through the joining of hands, as well as through support strings which connect each figure to a single focal point. The shape of the community is influenced by structures that once held sacraments for worshipers for decades at the Crossroads Church, a local Church in Stony Brook.

Quick to Listen/Slow to Speak

Falling leaves indicate seasonal change and the precious commodity of time. There is no season like the present for developing life-giving habits that lead to quiet waters and green pastures.

Slow to Anger

The bomb along with its drawn-out fuse, over 100 feet long, is made of newspaper. Patiently layered and bound articles feature current events that expose global controversy along with the need for, and lack of, temperance.

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Photo by Ella Simmons ’19

The Planted Word

Three aged copper message panels framed by wood from salvaged pews tie our piece together. They create an inviting backdrop for reflecting upon the potential for temperance to facilitate reconciliation for communities in conflict.

In the words of Maddie DeFelice, “These separate units come together to form a representation of the issues we have in our society and the hope for a better future.” The eighth grade participating members invite you to join them in meditating on the virtue of temperance this year.

— Anna MacDonald teaches visual art and set design at The Stony Brook School. This article is taken from the Fall 2018 issue of The Bulletin. You can read the digital edition online here.

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