Rebekah's Art Writing

(photo by Nellie Mitchell)

The following was written by MSSU summer art appreciation student Rebekah Wilkins:

Art Criticism Paper No. 1

Today I experienced something that I have never experienced before. I finally walked the two and a half blocks up to the high school and was flabbergasted by the wooden carved eagles that sit on the property of the Joplin High School. I had a hard time with this task but I knew it would not only help me with my homework but it would also help me with the healing that my family has tried to endure these past couple of months. I do not know the name of the artist who created these eagles, just as I was about to read the yellow plaque posted on the wood, a police officer lead me off the property and left me with a warning. But before he arrived, I was walking up to the carvings and I was able to appreciate the carefully crafted art work. I was able to see the imperfections of the wood, the holes that animals had dug out when it was only a tree and the bugs making it a home again. Though some of the eagles were smoothed out still in many places you could see where shards were sticking out and had a rough surface. The artist hit many details of the eagle, from its beak to its talons, even the carefully shaped feathers. In this peace, the viewer didn’t have to have an imagination. And knowing that the eagle represents America, the artist sent the message that we are strong and we will recover. They sent the message that we have hope; that we have a community that will rise above and in time will recover. It didn’t appear that the artist used anything extra special to create these beautiful, bold eagles but kept it simple, using only the raw materials of the wood and the carving utensils. Though I am not much of an art appreciator, in different circumstances I don’t know if I would feel the same but I really like these pieces. I like the message it sent. It’s just as clear as a cross representing Christ, these eagles represent hope. A symbol that is almost breath-taking as it is simple.