The French government invited six artists to go into different one-room schools in Roquefort cheese country for six weeks to introduce the students to contemporary art. They had arranged for the artists and their students to each have their own vernissage in their own exhibit space somewhere in the region.
In my school the children were from six to thirteen years old, mostly from local sheep farms. I wanted them to experience the joy that can come from art by thinking on a different scale: the expanded mind, the freedom to do and not be judged.
The title of the show was La Cuisine des Artistes, so I proposed that we plant a garden, something they all did at home. I insisted that we go outside in the parking lot of the school, where we spread out the thin, opaque gardening cloth used to make small greenhouses, which are ubiquitous in rural France. I brought in buckets of gouache and all my gardening equipment: trowels, rakes, gloves, shovels large and small that we used as paintbrushes and cut vegetables as pochoirs.
Their parents all came to the vernissage in a 12th century church in Castelnau-Pégarol to see what had so captured the imagination of their children.
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