Bridges & Ladders

Eighth-graders have just finished a three-part unit in Studio Art called Bridges & Ladders.

Judy Novey and Jona Rice started the unit by showing a slideshow of artists through time and across cultures who used ladder-like images in a myriad of decorative and symbolic ways. One of the most striking is a sculpture called “A Ladder for Booker T. Washington” by the contemporary African-American sculptor Martin Puryear. Other ladder images went back to ancient petroglyphs.

Students did quick sketches of the forms they observed in the slideshow before beginning work on three different but related assignments. The first was an additive print that used color and mixed media to create abstract ladder/bridge-like imagery. The second was a fanciful sculpture made out of wire and paper-maché. The final assignment was an artist’s book which combined cut-paper imagery with metaphoric language to speak poetically about making connections and life’s journeys.

This artwork can currently be seen on the rounded wall gallery outside of the theater.

Artwork featured above: Ian Good

Julia Werner:

Henry Wagg:

“A Ladder for Booker T. Washington” by Martin Puryear:

Ancient petroglyphs:


207.774.5721 | 360 Spring Street, Portland, Maine | Directions | My Waynflete