Last week I took my senior (and one junior) sculptors on a field trip. Field trips at my school don’t happen very often, so when my principal said I could go, I didn’t hesitate in making the plans. I picked a day in April when I thought it would be a great time to visit an outdoor sculpture museum. And, man did I pick a good date. It was sunny and mild. The flowers were blooming. The trees were green. And the air was fresh. It was a spring day in Austin. And, it was a great day to visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.
I am not sure how many of my students had actually been to a museum before. Perhaps they had been to the historical museum in their town, but that isn’t really the same. At first my kids seemed bored. But as we watched them, I think they were more unsure how to act. What did they know of a docent and what a museum tour would be like. I was worried that the trip would be a bust.
But then we moved off the patio and went over to see St. Michael and Lucifer.
Our guide told the students they could touch the sculptures…and oh man, it was a whole new ball game. My kids started to liven up. They impressed me at every turn. They were so well behaved. They were genuinely interested. It was one of the best days of the school year.
Student: “I liked that the Sculptures were surrounded by nature. It was something I haven’t seen before. I also like that they were very realistic and had stories behind them.”
Student: “I liked the way everything was placed in the garden, everything was placed according to the art piece. Like the pope was placed on higher ground overlooking the animals. How the lovers piece was in front of a pond with lots of lilies and it looked beautiful.”
Student: “They all had sentimental value and meaning to Umlauf. I really enjoyed how he made his sculptures with so much detail.”
Student: “I liked the second sculpture of the lovers series. I really liked the one where the man was lifting the woman, because I really liked the way her feet were curved, and to me it was a better pose than the first one we saw.”
Student: “My favorite sculpture was one of the sculptures outside. It was one figure with an arrow or spear, going in to stab to be what looked like the devil. It’s a religious piece and I just really enjoyed it because I grew up around a very religious granny.”