Sarah Pleines, “The Light Keeper”

Although lighthouses seem irrelevant in the modern world we are now so familiar with, to me they still possess a specific symbolism of searching, looking, and this idea of keeping the light. Growing up on Long Island, there are numerous beautiful landscapes you will come across, but the Montauk Lighthouse just always stuck in my mind and spoke to me.  The idea of the “Light Keeper” stems from the literal person who used to care and tend for the structure. Through my project I connect these qualities to those of a educator, whose job is to preserve the light in the minds of their students, to care for them, and to guide them in their educational journey that has been recently affected by modernization.

This topic derives from a recent change in the educational system–the overwhelming addition of technology in the curriculum of students. Since this alteration, the minds of students have drifted and they are finding it more challenging to remain interested in their work. Now a more hands-on and “electronically connected” environment is required to access their full engagement. Education has began to stray from the idea of conceptual learning and understanding the material. There has been more concern with the grading aspects of it and the academic competition between students. Seeing who has the best SAT/ACT score, teaching for the tests, and leaving out the true purpose of education that inspires children to want to succeed educationally. This is where the symbolism of a “light keeper” comes into effect, to me an educator who keeps the light inside of their student’s minds alive and inspired. 

Thus, my artist book develops a theme of admiration for education and how it is important to continue to instill this in students, while using the idea of the lighthouse and its keeper as a constant symbol paralleling the central idea. I would expect my audience to be students of multiple age groups. It takes the form of a children’s book and is written as poetry. I would say it is developed more for older students to reminisce on their educational experiences as a child and be able to compare it to what they see being exposed in the classrooms these days, or to simply appreciate the importance of keeping education alive. I expect my audience to have a positive reaction and to maybe feel inspired by the theme and meaning behind the project. It’s interesting for teachers and students to be able to see and understand where technology is heading in terms of its overall involvement in the classroom. Then creating their own opinion on the extent of which is should be.

To view the digital content of “The Light Keeper,” click on this hyperlink.