Flying Art is an opportunity for youth to share their artwork and to compare their lifestyles with their peers in other countries. An international exchange of art among youth. Enhancing Education and Encouraging Dialogue

Flight 101
Flight 202
Flight 303
Flight 404
Flight 505
Flight 606
Future Flights

Japan (Aomori Prefecture) - Romania (Focsani) - USA (Seattle, WA & Yonkers, NY)

October 2007 - May 2008

Flight 505 enjoyed beautiful artwork, thoughtful observations, and active participation from start to finish.  As our most involved exchange to date, it was a huge success!  Not only did three schools exchange artwork across three continents, exhibits were hosted in five different cities, including the display of curatorial talents of the Junior Docents at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York – a first for Flying Art!

Aomori, Japan

Aomori Toyama High School in Aomori, Japan has an entire building devoted to the arts. This is where the fine arts students participating in Flight 505 developed wood block prints and copper etchings. These pieces were the first arrivals of this exchange, arriving to each location in early December. Also contributing are members of the English Speaking Society, who created colorful fans with graphic designs. These fans are often used to celebrate Aomori’s famous Nebuta Festival.

The origin of the Nebuta Festival dates back to wartimes when armies would create large creatures to frighten off enemies. Today this week-long festival excites the city with large, colorful, wooden floats featuring historical and mythical characters accompanied by Haneto dancers and musicians.

The city of Aomori, famous for its apples and scallops, is located in the most northern point of Honshu (mainland Japan), and is divided into two sub regions, Tsugaru and Nambu. Each enjoys its own unique language and culture.

Be a Flying Artist! Here's a fun craft-making site featuring Japanese Kokeshi dolls, hand-crafted wooden dolls from Northern Japan:

Focsani, Romania

Flight participants in Focsani, Romania attend Gheorghe Tattarescu High School of Arts, the only Art High School in all of Vrancea County. In creating their artwork for Flying Art, the students focused on a variety of subjects from abstract expression to religious depictions portraits of themselves and of their country to create tempura paintings and drawings. Interviews of the artists on DVD accompanied the work, giving us a sense of who they were, and how well they speak in English!

Sending the artwork from Romania has been no easy task. Our Flying Art contact in Romania, Rajnesh Chakrapani, a Peace Corps Volunteer, has taken on the challenge with patience and tenacity! It seems the local postal office is open only for a few hours every Thursday afternoon. When attempting to expedite the process by shipping the artwork from Bucharest, Romania’s capital city (100 miles away from Focsani!), Raj arrived at the post office without the “right forms”. However, the artwork has arrived safely at all Flight 505 locations within three weeks of being shipped.

In Romania, the old is juxtaposed with the new. In Bucharest, for example, busy streets offer shopping at popular name brands stores and Land Rovers jam the streets, seemingly celebrating Romania’s recent inclusion into the European Union. Meanwhile, a peek behind these new developments, reveals the gray socialist apartment blocks, remnants from Communism’s hold, and a history with a deep and rooted history. The city of Focsani, where our young artists live, is located in east central Romania. It serves as the commercial center of Romania's principal grape-growing region. Wine has been produced here since the 15th century!

Seattle, USA
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Advanced Art students and members of the Art Club at Ballard High School in Seattle, WA are our American artist representatives for Flight 505. The Art Club offers art-inspired service projects, such as carving pumpkins on Halloween for nursing home residents and creating ornaments to donate during the holiday season to benefit the community.

Seattle, the capital of Washington state and the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, is often regarded as the birthplace of grunge music, and has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption. It is the birthplace of Starbucks after all! The city sits at a latitude of 47°N. Coincidentally, all locations of Flight 505 are between 41°N through 47°N, so while they may be thousands of miles apart, they all on the same relative line in the Northern Hemisphere.

Students at Ballard High School contributed a wide range of artwork, including photography, prints, drawings, paintings – even a penguin listening to his iPod painted onto a skateboard and the “city’s cycle” drawn on a 2 x 4!  Their ideas were imaginative, reflecting the skyline of Seattle, still life found around their classroom, literary characters, textured designs, and more.

Yonkers, USA
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The unique thing about the Junior Docent Program, led by Rebecca Kraus, is that, unlike the other participating locations, it is hosted by a museum. About twenty youth meet weekly at the Hudson River Museum after school to learn about art, and learn how to discuss art with the public.

Those participating in Flight 505 range in age from 14 - 18 years old, and most attend school in Yonkers, a suburb of New York City, where the museum is also located. Yonkers is only about a 30-minute train ride from New York City and the fifth largest city in the state of New York.

Most Junior Docents enter the program when they are 11 or 12 years old and stay in the program until they go to college. They train with curators, artists, and specialists from other cultural organizations. They take trips to local museums and art galleries, and work with other museum youth programs.

They also participate in all of the museum's special events, give tours and run workshops for younger children and work with local community organizations.

Check this out: First lady Laura Bush honors Yonkers student and Hudson River Museum
Congratulations Junior Docents!

Exhibits & Responses

"This is definitely one of the most interesting and different pieces I have seen in my life, and it has made me want to go visit Japan one day." - Ashley Oomen, Yonkers, NY

"I find the simplicity of the work to be powerful. I feel that art doesn't have to be complicated in order to send out a statement." - Jorge Betanzos, Yonkers, NY

"Your work makes me imagine the interior of a time machine." - Reo Satoh, Aomori, Japan

"It's a sensitive and artistic image - tattoos and piercings are a form, a manifestation of art." - Mocanu Oona, Focsani, Romania

"[This artwork] inspires you to struggle for what you want, to fight for your goal, getting past everything that stands in your path." - Voinea Tonelia, Focsani, Romania