By Jivani Gengatharan
Visual arts teacher Kevin O’Malley created two documentaries about fellow art teacher John Luebtow’s fountain Venus Vitae located in the heart of Century City. The first documentary, filmed last fall, recorded the reinstallation of the fountain.
The second documentary, which was filmed this past spring, explained Luebtow’s motivations to create the fountain. Luebtow hired O’Malley to film a documentary so he could send it to prospective clients. He chose a colleague to create the documentary because he thought the familiarity between them would help the documentary’s development and overall success. Luebtow felt that the fact that he and O’Malley are colleauges would benefit the documentary as a whole.
“I respect [O’Malley], he respects me and together that respect generally adds to a higher quality end product and a stronger commitment toward the success of that end product,” Luebtow said.
After the first documentary on the fountain’s reinstallation was made, Luebtow was concerned that it was too focused on the working process rather than the artistic development.
Luebtow then asked O’Malley to film a new documentary on his personal artistic motivations and how they influenced the fountain.
In his second documentary, Luebtow shifted the overall focus. Though O’Malley filmed both documentaries, Luebtow said that the second included his experiences and senses in the field of art.
His 55 foot-long fountain incorporates a wide range of materials including glass, granite and stainless steel. It also utilizes light and sound.
In addition to O’Malley, other faculty participated in the creation of the documentary.
Middle school visual arts teacher Katie Palmer narrated the introduction of the the spring documentary. Additionally, upper school visual arts teachers Dylan Palmer and Art Tobias, as well as science teacher Dietrich Schuhl, were part of the documentary’s crew.
The fall documentary recorded Luebtow helping a crew put together the fountain at its current location by carrying and placing pieces of glass in Century City.The glass used for the fountain was a result of Luebtow’s method of bending glass. O’Malley admired Luebtow’s work ethic and passion for art and sculpture as well as his artistic talent even before filming the documentary.
“It’s kind of like having the gold medal winner in the 400 hurdles coaching our track athletes, only Mr. Luebtow teaches our kids ceramics and sculpture,” O’Malley said.
In O’Malley’s opinion the second documentary was more successful than the first because it focused on showing Luebtow’s passion for art and sculpture.Luebtow’s passion for art partially stems from the excitement that comes along with the job.
“That’s the beauty of being an artist,” Luebtow said in his documentary about Venus Vitae. “There’s never a boring moment.”