Menagerie at the Museums


Photo Taken by Ethan Pennington Groups of people stand in line at the St. Louis City Museum in order to visit a shop, attempt to go down a giant slide, and visit the outside area, many of which sit stuck in line for an elongated time.

If you were to ask someone their opinions on the art department at Carbondale Community High School, one of the keywords that would appear would assuredly be “interactive.” Throughout all of the world of arts at CCHS, the same personal level of connectedness stays persistent throughout every classroom. Sculpting, ceramics, fundamentals of art, and of course, photography. And this level of connectivity was shown no less significantly than the Art Trip to St. Louis.

Photo taken by: Ethan Pennington CCHS freshman Ayda sits atop a collective of bars and metal attached to the outside of the City Museum, posing for other photography students to photograph her.

Led by photography teacher Levi Biedermann, his art students in Photo 101 and Adv. Photo were individually chosen through certain criteria to be viable for attending the field trip. After deliberating for a while, Biedermann ultimately chose 3 students from each Photo 101 class and 3 from each Adv. Photo class and weighed them based on individual factors.

Speaking on the decision making process, he said, “It was one of the most difficult things I have had to do in a while… I made it performance based so it wasn’t just based on the grade in the class… and I wish I could have taken everybody.” The field trip as a whole, however, was able to inspire him to build more field trips for the photography students to create more interactivity as a whole for the class, leading to equal inclusion.

The assortment of students were taken early in the morning on a bus to head towards St. Louis, in which a day of museum visiting was planned. Firstly, the students were sent to the St. Louis Art Museum in order to properly view art held at a location as such, giving the students a live view of the works that are given said treatment. The students were also tasked with an optional scavenger hunt for certain works of art in order to receive badges.

After the Art Museum, the students were sent towards the St. Louis City Museum, which provided a lot less art, and a lot more interactive experiences, photography opportunities, and expandable options for activities to take-part in. The students were separated into groups and each sent out to explore the museum.

When asked about why these two places were chosen in particular, Biedermann responded, “We wanted to have the kids get inspired and show them the art that is out there. We wanted to expose them to something that isn’t in the classroom and experience art in the way it is meant to be experienced.” Biedermann further spoke over the City Museum as well, speaking on how it embodies a living and breathing art piece that allows for active motion towards said art.

Photo taken by: Ethan Pennington CCHS student JR Jarvis peers throughout the city streets of St. Louis looking for a subject to shoot, with the large buildings next to the City Museum booming over top of him.

With these motivations in mind, the students were thrown into a world not yet explored by many, and presented a cityscape of new views. Biedermann gave opportunity to said students, and they (alongside him) were able to thrive in this artistic environment, taking advantage of every second they were given.