Renowned Artist Holds Master Classes with Collegiate Students

Collegiate School students spent three days this week learning from well-regarded artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., whose work has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stamperia del Tevere in Rome, and in numerous other museums and university settings around the nation and globe.
Mr. Kennedy's primary medium is letterpress posters, which he uses to distribute messages and aphorisms related to social justice issues. He was in Richmond this week for a press conference related to the April 21 grand opening of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, where his work DECLARATION! will be on display.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Collegiate students in Lower, Middle and Upper School met with Mr. Kennedy to learn about the history of the letterpress and about his journey as an artist - including his decision to leave a computer programming job in corporate America at age 40 and turn his focus to letterpress printing.

During his visit, Mr. Kennedy, who also is a book artist and papermaker, discussed his series of works that connect to some of the historical figures Collegiate students have studied, such as Rosa Parks. In addition, he helped students create prints of their original quotes.

"It was the best day in art ever!" said 4th Grader Addison Barnes.

Dana DuMont, Chair of Collegiate's Visual Arts Department, said the opportunity for students to learn about the letterpress, which once served as the medium for producing all printed materials until computers and printers were invented, was extraordinary. Mr. Kennedy is also special, she said.

"The essence of his soul and his work are beautiful. He's a fabulous example of following your own path when you know it's the right thing to do and understanding that it takes years and years to perfect your craft."

Ninth Grader Anna Port agreed: "His enthusiasm was inspiring and allowed me to further respect the tediousness and difficulty of his craft. I was astounded by the layers and time put into each poster. He's a very wise man."