Sunday, August 29

Last week of summer

Friday was exhibition day to wrap up the visual arts camp week at NLArts! This summer our theme was "GAMES", so for the visual arts portion I interpreted that to include making toys/games, creating interactive public art, and artmaking as playing. Above and below you can see some of our kids personal gameboards they created and designed. Some are more "playable" than others, but they all reflect the kids' imagination and logic. I'm very pleased with the open parameters of this gameboard project as it promoted art-making as meaning making (sorry, as an art ed grad student I'm a bit preoccupied by the whole point of art education)The image above also includes the 8-year-olds public art project. We took a tour of area public art and paid attention to materials, and interactiveness before coming up with our own public art project. They worked in teams to mix and pour plaster into dish-washing gloves/molds, worked in new teams to paint the plaster hands, and finally made individual "balls" to add to the center of the sculpture. As this was a group that often had trouble cooperating in other activities, it was very important and positive that they let go of the ownership of the piece and worked together.
It also seems symbolic of the controlled chaos of the whole week!Our 7-year-olds created a hoop/ball game we installed in the yard, and their personal balls for the game are above. We made them out of plastic bags, rubber bands, and yarn. They are surprisingly bouncy! They came up with the name "Shoot the Looptiloop", but somehow we never came to a consensus on rules for the game- they were too interested in just slam-dunking their balls to even think about how to turn it into a group/team game. Ah well.Our 5-6 year olds went on a neighborhood mural arts tour and played "I Spy" at each site. We have a lovely mural by Paul Santoleri (I believe) next to the community center in what we call the "concrete park". So we made a visual clue public art version of I Spy by observing the mural and drawing details, finding familiar shapes, noticing colors. We laminated and zip-tied their drawings to the fence looking out on the mural so visitors could play an I Spy game on their own.The thing I'm most proud of this week is the gameboard mural our 9-11 year olds created in Liberty Lands park. I've often thought there needed to be something more to do at Liberty Lands- the playground area seems so geared to little kids and my older kid would get bored sometimes.So this game was designed by our campers collaboratively and they all had a hand in priming, designing stencils, and painting the mural. Although we kept running out of primer and blue paint, it all came together and somehow got completed in 5 days! Hopefully it will last for a long time!

I feel like we achieved our process over product goal for the week. The kids had plenty of time to think, reflect, and collaborate. I hope their work on the public art projects makes them even more connected to this community they live in.

Now I have a whole year to think about new themes and projects for next summer.

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