Melissa Borrell + Joan Farley Academy

In Residence: September 3 – October 19, 2012

Exhibition: Opens October 16, 2012; continues through October 31
Learning Lab: Joan Farley Academy at Third Way Center
About the Learning Labs
In Learning Labs with teens from the Joan Farley Academy at the Third Way Center, Creative Resident Melissa Borrell inspired the youth to create a collaborative large-scale paper installation bursting with color from the walls, ceiling and floor. Titled “Cave of Fascinations,” the work incorporates folding and cutting techniques learned from their workshops with Melissa, creating a joyous installation. A special thanks to International Paper for supplying the material for the workshops.
About The Joan Farley Academy at the Third Way Center
Third Way Center is a residential treatment and education for troubled teens and families, offering quality foster care placement and community outreach since 1970. The late Joan Farley, one of the first social workers at Third Way Center, was instrumental in forming the first Third Way Center School. The Joan Farley Academy (JFA) is housed at the KW Brill Center and is a hub of activity. School programs provide small classrooms, masters level, certified special education teachers, core courses, elective courses, service learning opportunities, athletic programs and community events. Every year more than 40 youth graduate with high school diplomas from state-approved educational programs. 

About the Artist: Melissa Borrell
Melissa has an MFA in jewelry and light metals from the Rhode Island School of Design, studied industrial design at the California College of Arts and Crafts, and earned a BA in French literature from Tufts University. Melissa has spent the last 15 years concentrated in the realm of jewelry design. At the core of her work is the idea of interaction, transformation and kinetics. Her background in jewelry and light metals makes her well suited to transforming PlatteForum’s unique space with sculptural pieces that incorporate shadow and light, surrounding the viewer with ever changing vistas. Melissa has transformed PlatteForum’s gallery into a twisting, floating, undulating world, inhabited by a series of sculptural installations. An experienced jewelry designer, Melissa shifts gears in tessellate, to create large-scale environmental works that transform two-dimensional materials into complex three-dimensional forms that hover and spill throughout the space.


Quotes from youth in the Learning Lab: 

I learned that it takes confidence–takes confidence and effort to put into art. You have to want to make art and want to learn new things. I will take with me that I want to teach others what I learned and want to go out and learn more things about art. I would like to say thank you for giving me this chance to learn to do art and that I really appreciate it and liked it a lot.
— Jerry, 17

I thought that we would learn about different arts – different ranges of art. Then we started to focus on one kind of art–this art is hard to explain–paper art. It is something that I didn’t think I would ever get to learn. I overcame my struggle with focusing by getting comfortable in the space and asking people for help. I would ask the staff for help and it helped me stick to the task. It was nice to know that I have support here. It is a very different experience–you kind of have to have a taste for it and a commitment for it. — Kea, 17

I learned that I work well with others and I can overcome my fears (like my fear of heights). I am proud of learning new things like making different shapes in paper. It is a pretty cool experience–you learn about shapes and figures. I could use what I learned by teaching others the techniques and how to make the figures on the wall.

— Sam, 18

I learned how things that I thought would never go together actually go to together perfectly. For example, flowers and spikes, they go together, but I can’t explain it. I think I can use this in my life by trying new things like food–putting things together you wouldn’t normally and trying to create new things. I saw things and then thought how can I make this into an environment–I really love the environment. You can use something you are passionate about to create–all artists do that. I’m excited about what we’ve made and how it has progressed from day one. I would say definitely check out PlatteForum because I liked it and it brightened my senses for art.– Dakota, 16


My biggest challenge was coming here everyday because it’s not really my style. I learned that I really don’t like art but I also learned about myself–I am a strong willed person because I still came here. I’m proud of making a whole wall of art – “the wall of fame” – and that I was able to accomplish it.
— Lici, 18