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  • Khahtee V Turner

Opening To Light


We are safely back at school -- once again, we are celebrating our resilience, strategies, and creativity persevering together as the waves of the world undulate, ebb and flow. One of the reasons we were so excited about returning to school is to leap not only back into all of the momentum, resolutions, and visions of the 2022 New Year, but also into the intended curriculum, unit topics, and emergent explorations we share as a school community, in our classrooms, and in the Field. For the first 4 months of the Fall 2021 school year we held a comprehensive earth science study and research process revolving around the life, stories, communication network, and sentient experiences of trees. Sharing those bodies of investigation and study with our school families was particularly exhilarating, especially with whole school experiences such as The Family Day in The Field. Studying the life of trees will continue to be central to the earth science investigations we pursue throughout our days and years at Roberts Field. Honoring trees and learning of their direct part in the sustainability of our ecosystem can be an infinite pursuit of discovery. And yet, this winter, as we evolve from Solstice only a few weeks ago, we'll also broaden our full school earth science Field and Symposium studies to focus on the history of light. With an ecstatic launching, our weekly study of the history of light will not only encompass reading the biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and playfully and triumphantly unwinding Einstein's theories on beams of light (the speed of light!) but also delving into solar light, solar design, and solar environmental sustainability as we build further into the future for an ever healthier globe. Ah, and right back to the roots of it–we haven't forgotten the cyclical place of nature; Earth's revolution, the sunrise and sunset, the photosynthesis that allows us all to thrive, to breathe! There is so much science to understand and unearth and, in tandem, there is also so much STEAM invention and art to be created. How greatly artists are inspired and erect their forms, structures, and expanses of visual expression through continuous studies and experimentation with light.

This new year, Roberts Field celebrates art and light as mediums and elements to express happiness and beauty in our school, in our homes, and in the world. Roberts Field's annual gift to Faculty and Friends of RFS was the commemorative book, Everything is Beautiful, showcasing the life and work of artist, Alma W. Thomas. Alma was the first Black woman to have a solo show at The Whitney Museum of Art. Alma was also a school teacher! Alma said, “Man’s highest aspirations come from nature. A world without color would seem dead. Color is life. Light is the mother of color. Light reveals to us the spirit and living soul of the world through colors.” The trajectory of her artistic style evolved from an enduring study of color theory. Her pieces were eventually viscerally deliberate in their scale, geometric repetition, and simplicity, illuminating in the expanse and composition of hues which register upon the eyes as prismatic sunlight. This winter at Roberts Fieldwe will also explore Alma W. Thomas’s inspired large scale art pieces, read about her life, and learn about her technique and approach to these specific types of abstract creations.

Alma shares with us…

Then The Light Would Come Around

When I look out my window I see the trees…

the way the wind tosses the branches

and then I think of when I was a little girl in Georgia

I lived in a hill…

the brook was alive in the valley…

I heard singing, talking sounds in all things…

I would stretch out

and these sounds of my childhood affected me

the wind would dance the leaves together

and make it dark

then the light would come around…

We will be reading this poem with the children next week, as Alma's work once again allows us to further elucidate the network and systems of science through the practice and dimension of art, and vice-versa.

Everything Is Beautiful. In Light & Joy, Khahtee and Carney

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