Once a month the school yard at Mt Washington Elementary turns into an arts collective. Timmy Ringsmuth has created an incredible after school program in this tucked away neighborhood where children get to a chance to experience screen printing and working with circuit blocks, making books and more. This month I was honored to be asked to create a project for 100 children for this innovative after school program.
I love the challenge of coming up with a new project for this many children of a variety of ages. I also love the chance to take a project out of the studio to see so many kids really attack the materials with such enthusiasm and concentration. I needed to bring a project that needed little direction from me to create, a project that used techniques they already knew and had command of. That way they were sure to be successful in illustrating their ideas with the materials given. I offered the kids wooden pieces and magazine images to build a conceptual city. Most of the images I brought were of cities, medieval and modern, natural images from lily ponds to forests to animals. Oh and some underwater images as well.
Since this age already knows how to cut and glue and just needed a little guidance with the sanding of the wood to make it smooth, they could be left to their own devices and discuss amongst themselves what they were building. This kind of independence to create is so importance for problem solving and creative thinking.
Both the variety of shapes of wood, as well as the variety of the images, created an environment where kids could explore their own ideas of building and layering concepts onto an otherwise inert material. They built tall cities, short small cities, urban cities, doughnut cities, seaside cities, desert cities, forest cities, castle cities and so much more.