Encore: IMS art at SAM - Mercer Island students invited back for second year

By Katherine Sather

Famed artist Louis Comfort Tiffany used stained glass to create artwork like chandeliers, glass lamps and vases.

Islander Middle School students use more modest materials -- tissue and construction paper--but their work is exhibited alongside Tiffany's this month at the Seattle Art Museum.

The work of about 60 students from IMS art teacher Julie Biggs' design classes is on display on the first floor of the museum as part of community partnership SAM has with youth organizations in Puget Sound. The museum staff partners with non-profit groups and clubs, but primarily work with schools, said Laura O'Quin, associate museum educator for youth and family programs.

``It's also a way of expressing the lack of arts in education right now; a way to show how empowering arts can be in school systems,'' O'Quin said.

The group visits the SAM today, Nov. 16, to see their work and view the exhibit by Tiffany, an early 20th century artist whose father founded the Tiffany & Company jewelry firm. The IMS creations are on the first floor, and are free to view. The work is mainly by 7th and 8th grade students, but Biggs selected some 6th grade work to display as well.

``They worked really hard,'' Biggs said. ``Not very many schools are selected to (display their work).''

O'Quin said that schools are selected mainly by word of mouth, but the museum was impressed with an exhibit of Biggs' students last year and invited her classes to participate again.

``Not only did she connect the students to the special exhibition, but the quality is incredible,'' O'Quin said.

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