Looking at Ambler
This exhibit is the culmination of the Germantown Academy’s, Upper School Visual Arts Department’s involvement in a year-long, cross-disciplinary project, which looked closely at Ambler through the diverse lens of Visual and Performing Arts, Science, Math, History and English. Faculty across these disciplines worked collaboratively to develop curricula exploring the town, its residents and most importantly, its evolution over the many years.
In the visual arts, students began this project with a full day devoted to exploring Ambler, which began and ended with a walk into town on The Green Ribbon Trail, the wooded path that directly connects the campus to the borough. Other events included a historical presentation, a tour of residential and commercial areas connected to Ambler’s asbestos past and time to explore and document the town’s hidden and not -so- hidden beauty. Students were encouraged to “look closely” and go beyond Main Street as a means of seeing beneath the surface and to open up to explorations focusing on environmental impact and social equality, to more traditional studies looking at Ambler’s past and present. All these initial explorations formed the basis for further discussions and studio work back at GA. Supporting this hands-on work were additional visiting discussions with social scientists, Ambler residents and government leaders on topics as diverse as gentrification and racial equality. An additional and significant resource was the Science History Institute’s inter-disciplinary Reach Ambler project, which delved deeply into how Ambler’s residents and environment were, and in ways still are, profoundly affected by its legacy of asbestos manufacturing.
Like many towns across America, Ambler has gone through dramatic changes over the course of its existence. As an educational institution, an important part of the GA mission is to nurture student’s understanding and appreciation of their environment, whether that’s the larger world or the Ambler community right down the street. Additionally, Germantown Academy has strong connections to Ambler, from the natural tributary of Wissahickon Creek which connects the campus to the town, to GA alumni and parents who are directly connected to Ambler’s recent rebirth. All this made for an ideal collaborative project and “a perfect fit”. But even though the obvious goal of the project was to try to understand and tell Ambler’s story, maybe even more important was the opportunity to understand themselves and where they come from, a little more fully.
Looking At Ambler
Observations by Germantown Academy Visual Arts Students
April 4th - April 28th
Thursday, April 4th
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Sunday, April 28th
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Opening receptions are free and open to the public