Nature- and Bird-Centric Art

The week of April 24–28, Ensworth welcomed visiting artist Rachel Briggs to work with the Grade 5 students prior to and during their annual trip to Land Between the Lakes. 
Rachel, who already splits time between New Mexico and Nashville, travels extensively outside of the state for her work. She has created album art for artists such as Randy Travis and Chuck Berry, beer cans for Wiseacre Brewing Company, and touring backdrops for bands Wilco and Little Big Town, just to name a few.
Briggs visited Evie Coates’ Grade 5 Art classes to talk about her work and to illustrate her process through demonstrations. Since patterns and motifs from nature run throughout Rachel’s work, the Grade 5 trip to the wilds of Land Between the Lakes was the perfect opportunity to extend these lessons beyond the classroom. 
Over a 90-minute activity period, Rachel and Miss Coates helped students work through what it means to “draw what you see, not what you think you see.” Each student chose a bird reference photo and settled in with a piece of sketch paper, a wood panel, and several art mediums from which they could choose. The panels created by the fifth-grade artists are now on display in the Red Gables upper library. Please stop by next time you’re on campus and see the birds drawn by our budding naturalists. 
Land Between the Lakes is a long-standing tradition at Ensworth and is our students’ first opportunity for an overnight trip. Grade 5 has been studying the Lewis and Clark Expedition, exploring field journals, and practicing observation skills. "Hopefully, the work we did with them will keep resonating,” Art Teacher Evie Coates shares. For more than fifteen years, Ms. Coates had done a nature journal project with students on the LBL trip but instead opted to bring along a co-teacher, Rachel Briggs, to expand their learning in the classroom and enhance their time in nature.

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Rachel Briggs (@wiresandfires) • Instagram photos and videos

Check out Rachel's work with Grade 5 students

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