San Clemente experiences artist in residence

Throughout September, students and staff of San Clemente High School, Mayfield, experienced the perks of having an artist in residence at the school.

Local artist and former National Art School and Fraser residency award winner, Madeleine Cruise, shared a wealth of information and experience with the school’s Visual Arts community.

The premise of the residency was for Madeleine to engage with the students and share her experiences as a professional artist, whilst developing new works in response to the school.

Madeleine says of the experience, “My time at San Clemente far exceeded these expectations - leading art classes, interacting with a whole hearted community of students and staff and advancing my own creative and professional practice”.

San Clemente’s location was what first attracted Madeleine to the school “situated on a hill in Mayfield East, surrounded by a grid of ramshackle suburbia with views to Newcastle's working industrial port”.

In her blog, Madeleine describes gritty landscapes, the architectural design of the buildings, including interior archways, lead lights and the repeated patterns throughout the schools gardens and how she used these to direct students in their own projects as well as her own.

Madeleine describes her finished work, which she has gifted to the school as “a selection of collage tiles that feature many environmental viewpoints with a repeated rhythm of pattern.

“The sequence echoes the diversity of the school united by the strong community. The colour and brightness of the piece also demonstrates the connectivity that the work has with the people of San Clemente, who were an integral part of my positive experience whilst on residency and who ultimately make the school what it is.”

Challenging students to think outside the square when it came to their own works, Madeleine dug through her own archives to share her experience of creating portraiture pieces.

 “We feel very fortunate to have been given insight into Madeleine’s process, from inspiration through to the resolved artwork,” said San Clemente Positive Education Coordinator, Emma South.

“The shared experience of practicing artists has an enormous impact on our students as it opens their eyes to their own potential, with a deeper recognition of the hard work it takes to succeed.”

Students from Years 9 and 10 will be exhibiting their Cruise inspired work as part of our ‘Sight and Sound’ exhibition to be held at the school on 23 November at 6pm. 

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Amanda Skehan Image
Amanda Skehan

Amanda Skehan was the Marketing Team Leader for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and a regular contributor to Aurora and