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Very Special Arts students prep for downtown Great Falls exhibit

The display is called an Ode to Dale Chihuly
Posted: 5:10 PM, Jan 14, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-14 21:36:49-05
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GREAT FALLS — On Tuesday mornings you can find the "Very Special Arts" class being taught at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art.

It's a special needs program that is organized by Easter Seals-Goodwill and The Square in hopes of giving the students a chance to bring their imagination to life with mixed media and ceramics classes.

About the class:

Allowing the students the freedom to use art as a means of self expression, the VSA Montana Arts program at The Square focuses on the social, emotional and artistic well-being of each student served.

Working with and getting to know this ever-evolving group of artists enriches the lives of all of those involved in the VSA experience.

Each year the classes gather all artwork that is made, and at the end of the year The Square has an exhibit to showcase the Very Special Arts class.

Teacher Michelle Schroll says part of why she loves teaching these classes is the student's reactions when they get to see their work on display.



She says, “They got really excited and super proud because...their artwork was in a museum and they thought that was just the greatest thing.”

In the coming weeks the class is going to be featured in an installation in the Urban Art Project's windows in downtown Great Falls.

The display is called an Ode to Dale Chihuly, an artist who specializes in stained glass.

About the display:

The VSA (Very Special Art’s) class created this installation out of every day plastic cups, which were hand designed, by the students, using drawing materials, then the cups are melted in an oven.

When the cups melt, they take on organic shapes of their own. No two designs are alike.

This project has grown over the course of one year, because the students love making them and seeing them hung together in a group.

The cups suspended together form a magical visual that light can pass through.

It is organic in nature; it can move if air passes through it and the artwork drawn on the cups gets highlighted due to the translucency of the material.

Schroll also says their creativity is what makes it worthwhile: “We just have fun doing art. However it turns out, that’s the art of it.”

The Montana Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Easterseals-Goodwill, and the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art made this exhibit possible.

It will be open for viewing at the Urban Art Project’s display at 315 1st Avenue South in Great Falls, in front of the South Parking Garage, starting February 5th.