The Bluest of Blues - A Youth Arts Month Collaborative Exhibit

From Fine Arts Department Chair Julie Fisher

One of the first connections I made in the Middleburg community when I began teaching at Foxcroft was with Sandy Danielson, owner of the Artist in Middleburg (AiM) gallery. Back in 2017, we discussed our first partnership — to plan a student art show — with other art educators. Since then, Sandy and I have met each year to continue lifting up young artists and celebrating their creativity. This year’s theme for Youth Arts Month is “Art Connects Us,” and throughout March, students from Foxcroft, Claude Thompson Elementary School, and Middleburg Community Charter School will embrace this concept for their upcoming joint exhibition.
This exhibit has always stood as a testament to the fact that art truly matters, and it enriches both education and wellbeing. Our students gain so much from seeing the full exhibition process firsthand each year. They not only select their work but physically prepare it to hang with a label. They measure the gallery walls, hammer the nails in, and put up the entire show themselves. Even behind the scenes, they help to create and distribute promotional materials as well as coordinate and set up for each opening reception. 

This year’s exhibit is especially exciting since it has been on hold since the onset of the pandemic two years ago. We had envisioned an entire display dedicated to the photographic process known as the cyanotype, which is essentially a sun print. It is created by coating a surface with a simple two-part, nontoxic chemical solution. Next, objects, drawings, or negatives are placed on top, and then it is exposed to the sun. Anywhere that light reaches the surface will turn a deep cyan blue. Finally, the material is washed with water and once it dries this archival image will last a century or more. 

The title of the collaborative exhibit, “The Bluest of Blues,” pays tribute to a children’s book written by Fiona Robinson, which tells the story of Anna Atkins, the first female photographer and the first person to publish a photo book. Published in 1843, the book was comprised entirely of cyanotype impressions of British Algae. Reading this book aloud in the classroom has been a great introduction to the cyanotype process. Even the older students still enjoy a good storytime. My photography class and I visited Claude Thompson Elementary School and Middleburg Community Charter School to share this book and teach young artists how to make a cyanotype. After learning about this project, the author was delighted to give us permission to use her book title for this collaborative exhibit.

Be sure to stop in and see the show opening on March 25, 2022, at the Artists in Middleburg gallery. The daily hours run from 12-5pm and the show will come down on Sunday, April 3. You can read more about the show in the March 2022 Issue of Middleburg Life. Congratulations to our exhibiting artists and thanks for connecting with us this year for Youth Arts Month!
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.