Starry Night, was the culmination of a yearlong study of Vincent Van Gogh for our students and adult participants at the St Catherine Center for Special Needs. Gina Barber, our dedicated volunteer art teacher, spent the 2014-2015 school year exposing our students and adult participants to the works of Vincent Van Gogh.

Our artists painted sunflowers to be used as centerpieces for the Gala, made containers based on Starry Night to hold cookies baked for the bus drivers as holiday gifts, 3D chairs to represent Van Gogh’s painting Chair, and painted cats similar to those depicted in many of his paintings. The students utilized the Van Gogh theme for the decorations for our award winning Christmas tree for the Knights of Columbus Museum, creating a nativity scene and stars to adorn the tree.

Vincent Van Gogh painted Starry Night in 1889 while living in Saint Remy, France. He would gaze out his window each evening and watch the night sky break into morning. The bright star in the painting is the planet Venus. The hamlet pictured is invented and the church spire is reminiscent of his native Netherlands. He used his imagination and memory to create this spectacular piece of work which is one of his most recognized and sought after image.

For our rendering of Starry Night, Gina divided the painting into 17 sections, giving each of the students and adults a piece of the painting. Each artist created their own interpretation on a 16” X 12” canvas using paint and pastels creating a textured panel depicting their individual scene. When that was complete, Gina put the pieces together on a 6’ X 4’ board creating the stunning final masterpiece. When the finished product was unveiled tears abounded at the creativity and beauty of the painting which surpassed all project and may dinner dance 040

Starry Night was the back drop of our annual gala in June. Spontaneously at the dinner it was decided to include the painting in our silent auction. The Valerie Luff Foundation and Britta and Denis Nayden purchased the painting and donated it back to the Center in honor of Gina Barber. It is displayed in our front entranceway for all to enjoy and marvel as it is truly a remarkable collaboration of our students and young adults.