Local artist makes impression on Salisbury Academy students

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SALISBURY – Salisbury Academy students recently learned about Impressionism directly from the source week, a lesson that will tie into other areas of study according to the school’s Core Knowledge curriculum, and philosophy of experiential learning.
With examples and demonstrations, local artist Phyllis Steimel, delivered an informative presentation to the Academy’s seventh- and eighth-grade students.
Steimel graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree having majored in Art Education. A retired swimming coach, she has a heart for education, but dedicated herself to painting for the last 18 years.
Steimel’s presentation on Impressionism addressed the elements of color, lighting and style.
“This is one of the most recognized and loved styles of art,” said Katy Temple, Salisbury Academy art teacher.
To illustrate the principals she was teaching, she painted a portrait of her cat, Phoebe. Steimel explained that Impressionism is not meant to be literal, giving the example of how she would paint the brick behind the cat in the photograph.
“I’m not a brick counter. I’m giving you the Impression of bricks,” she said.
The students are studying the art world of France in the late 1800s and early 1900s, while also studying the politics of that same time period. “It helps the students understand a more global perspective,” said Joe Hartsell, who teaches social studies to the fifth, seventh, and eighth-grade students.
Core Knowledge is based on the philosophy that skills should be taught through the systematic framework of solid, academic content.
“Our curriculum also invites experiential learning and discovery,” said Heather Coulter, middle school division head. “This type of guest presentation ties into Salisbury Academy’s teaching philosophy.”
At Salisbury Academy, even elementary students learn about topics like Impressionism. ”
They get that base knowledge of these time periods in the elementary grades,” said Hartsell. “So when they reach middle school they are building on that base of knowledge. “Our enhancement classes strengthen and broaden that core knowledge, creating cultural understanding.”