Pierre H. Matisse is going the distance for Appleton’s arts education with the opening of his “Freedom & Love” tour at the Feather and Bone gallery inside The Draw in Appleton. The exhibit, which opened on March 18, will be open until April 22 and the home to 17 of Matisse’s original pieces including cut-outs, paintings and lithographs. Matisse, the grandson of the great Henri Matisse, is dedicated to the arts and even more dedicated to sharing them.
“I use my art to express my appreciation of freedom and love,” says Matisse in a recent press release. “The Fox Cities is not a large venue, but it is a quality venue. Over the past few months, it became apparent to me that the community wishes to offer more opportunities for those interested in art to learn that there is an artist in all of us.”
And, that’s exactly what John Adams, the curator of the Feather and Bone Gallery is trying to offer. “I’m trying to keep the space really organic and approachable. We don’t need to have a thousand people out here in order to be successful,” he says. But, getting the community involved in the arts is one of their goals, Adams states, which is why pairing with Matisse is such a good fit.
“(Matisse) has a passion for the arts, especially for the youth,” says Jean Detjen, the artist representative for Pierre H. Matisse. “Mr. Matisse joyfully gives much of his free time to young students as he feels this is very important for their critical thinking skills.”
Adams agrees. “I really wanted to live out what (Matisse) thinks is important which is kids and education,” he says. And, he is doing just that in his gallery, opening up workshops for students on Saturday afternoons. They will be taking an “optional donation at the door which will all be going to support arts programming in the Appleton area school district,” says Detjen. “While we are not charging for these workshops, those that can, are encouraged to donate at the door.”
The workshops, titled, “Kids Helping Kids,” began this past Saturday where elementary school children were invited to The Draw to create while high school students volunteered to be mentors in their creativity. Each upcoming event will be held on Saturdays through April 16 from 1-5 p.m. and will appeal to a different age group.
On April 2, the event will be geared toward high school students with an invitation extended toward college student volunteers. The following week, on April 9, college students will be invited to come create while area professionals have been encouraged to guide their college-aged counterparts. The final week of the exhibit will come full circle, again inviting elementary-aged students to learn from area high schoolers.
All are welcome to experience Matisse’s artwork firsthand at The Draw. Not only will there be artwork on display, but Adams has worked hard to ensure there is always a volunteer on hand, “literally just to keep the doors open,” he says. So, when visitors come in the door they see something organic. “We want it to feel real,” Adams describes. “You walk in and someone is creating.” From guitar players, to writers to sketch artists and more, the goal is to bring life to the arts in this space.
For more information, go to thedrawappleton.com.