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500 students view public art display at Shaker

| May 13, 2016
Shaker High School students talk about their interpretations of a Domiciles Project door with artist Alan Tuttle.

Shaker High School students talk about their interpretations of a Domiciles Project door with artist Alan Tuttle. Click here for a photo gallery.

For two days, the Shaker High School art gallery was home to visiting artist Alan Tuttle’s Domiciles Project, a public art project of 12 painted door panels, with scenes on both sides, that students in the English, visual art and social studies departments studied. With a goal of inspiring creativity and reflection, classes responded to the images and the implied stories through writing and art activities. Each door depicts a different vignette of the life of the inhabitant that may have lived behind it. More than 500 Shaker Junior High and Shaker High School students had the opportunity to view the doors.

“For some, this was the first opportunity they have had to engage with art on many levels,” said Tuttle.

Tuttle works on his project in cooperation with the Rehoboth Art League, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The partnership has presented The Domiciles Project to schools throughout the northeast. The foundation for the project was Tuttle’s purchase of two doors from an antique shop; the doors had been left outside and exposed to the weather.

“I was intrigued by them,” said Tuttle. “I bought them for 20 bucks, and brought them back to my studio. I stared at them across the way for a couple of years. Every time I looked at them, I imagined there was a story there, with every layer of paint.”

Tuttle says he asked himself questions like, “What happened in that house?” and Who lived there?”

He says he had been doing spill paintings on canvases, and decided one day to pour spills on the two doors he had bought.

“I put in the fragments of life I imagined there,” said Tuttle. “What happened after, is people came by my studio and created the rest of the story.”

A student quietly examines a Domiciles Project door.

A student quietly examines a Domiciles Project door.

Since then, Tuttle’s door collection has increased and people have written monologues and created modern dance interpretations about them. While Tuttle’s traveling art exhibit contains 12 doors, his goal someday is to have a collection of 50 placed in shopping malls, to give people a surprise encounter with art.

“I learned very quickly with people’s first interactions with these doors that there was potential there.”

“We are very pleased to be offering our North Colonie community access and exposure to a public art installation by hosting The Domiciles Project,” added District Art Department Supervisor, Anne Manzella. “Through experiencing Tuttle’s artwork on the many door panels depicting scenes of potential inhabitants of dwellings, students will be inspired to create their own visual and written interpretations and stories to accompany his powerful images.  In this interdisciplinary work, students will be encouraged to carefully observe, analyze and respond to the artwork using their imagination while developing creative thinking skills.”

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