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July 2018

Nourishment for the Soul: First Art, Then Ice Cream

At the beginning of her special tour of the Whitney Museum, Rachel Farmer, herself an artist, told the seven Scholarship Plus students that they would be seeing some of her favorite works. Rachel divided her tour into two parts, starting with a show of contemporary art by living artists and then looking at pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. What united all of the works was their sense of place, a theme that our guide, a sculptor, asked our students to reflect on, drawing out reactions and insights from the members of the group. At the end of the formal tour, the students were invited to explore the museum in the hour or so before closing – and all were given a pass allowing them to revisit the museum with guests. Once again, we were grateful to Diane Exavier, a former New York Times Scholar who is now a playwright and teacher, for arranging the Whitney tour.  

As the museum was closing, we walked across Washington Street to the Ample Hills Creamery store, and had the difficult job of picking among tempting flavors and combinations (sample tastes were provided on request). The temperature had cooled down, so we re-crossed the street and climbed the steps up to the High Line, where we found seats and selfie opportunities as the ice cream disappeared.

Photographs by Michael J. Leahy

Contemplation: An assemblage of fishing nets and other objects from the Gulf of Mexico and other waters by the artist Carolina Caycedo.


We broke up into smaller groups – and comfortable positions – to make notes on our responses to another Caycedo work, “This Is Not Water/Esta No Es Agua,” a high-definition video.


Diane Exavier, second from right, compares notes with Joselyn, and right, and Anijah, far left.


On a Whitney terrace, from left: Anijah, who will attend U.S.C.; Kate Fenneman Stokes, executive director of Scholarship Plus; Roselkis, a sophomore at S.U.N.Y. Oneonta; Arianna, Boston College; Joselyn, Dartmouth; Michael, Skidmore; Xabier, in his second year at Columbia; Tasmia, a sophomore at N.Y.U. Tandon School of Engineering, and Anna Antoniak, senior director of Scholarship Plus.  


Photograph by Anna Antoniak 

Roselkis and Jocelyn share a quiet moment on the terrace


Discussing George Tooker’s “The Subway,” from left, Rachel Farmer, Roselkis, Joselyn, Arianna.


Reginald Marsh’s “Death Avenue,” a 1927 scene not far from where the Whitney now stands.


A different kind of nourishment: Sample time at the Ample Hills ice cream store.


Did I pick the right one?  From left, Anijah, Joselyn, Tasmia, Anna Antoniak and Roselkis.


An ice-cream-cone moment on the High Line, photographed by Michael.


Next: 2018 Annual Awards Night