Art That Moves

CV Montessori Charter School opens doors for ‘kinetic sculptor,’ public

Bailey Berg

A kinetic sculpture by Jeffrey Zachmann, more of which will be on display for the first art show open to the public at Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School.

    In the last decade, Eau Claire elementary schools have seen a rapid decrease in art education, due to both budget cuts and time constraints. Students have gone from having a couple art classes a week to a single 45-minute lesson once a week. The Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School is working to combat that.

Parent Jeremy Harrison and teacher Melissa Kleven started an artist-of-the-month program in hopes of inspiring children to create and better appreciate art. Featuring a different art style each month, Montessori students have seen the likes of found object sculptor Steve Bateman, potter Tiffany Bailey, illustrator/painter Ned Gannon, and colored pencil/watercolor painter Alan Servoss.

While the program has been going on since January of last year, this March marks the first time that parents and community members will be encouraged to come in and view the artwork. An art exhibition inside a school is unique in and of itself, but this even will also serve as an open house for people new to the Montessori concept.

To kick off this new program, they’ve invited incredible kinetic sculpture artist Jeffrey Zachmann. Now when you think of sculpture, your mind may conjure up images of a chiseled marble figure, a stone bust, maybe a bronze statue. But these pieces defy expectations, and are featured in museums around the globe.

The sculptures are made of delicately curved sections of wrought metal, joined together in movable parts, that are driven by both motors and gravity. A dozen or so small marbles chase each other as they weave through and around the piece along narrow metal tracks, pulling levers and spinning metal pinwheels as they move on their ceaseless path. “As people watch, they are drawn in and begin to interact with the piece, becoming part of the sculpture themselves. I never tire of seeing this transformation,” he said. “I think it must be some primordial reaction to motion that draws the crowds. It grabs their attention and pulls them in.”

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