Monday, June 9, 2014

Spring 2014 Project Explore- Flynn Elementary

The new mosaic on the fence surrounding the garbage and recycling dumpsters.

Students just wrapped up session 2 of Project Explore's sixth year at Flynn Elementary School. Fourth and fifth grade artists have just finished two mosaics that can beseen outside of the school facing North Avenue. The unlikely seeming location of the murals- on the fence surrounding the garbage and recycling dumpsters- is no mistake. This project was part of a seven-week investigation into reuse as an alternative to disposal.
Left panel

After a field trip to ReSource on Pine Street, learning about reuse artists from around the globe, and collecting unused and broken objects from their own homes, students designed and created the two panels of the mosaic.  (This is the moment when you should Google Tito Ingenieri.  Or just click this  link to see this true world wonder of eco-innovation.)

Right panel

In their presentation of the new artwork, the students wrote “Old stuff isn’t just junk it’s much more, it’s unique. It may look like a pile of nothing but it isn’t, it really is not junk. Just look at it and think to yourself, how much of that ‘junk’ instead of being thrown away, could be re-used to make a piece of art? People don’t often think of what broken items can be used for, and so many things are thrown away. Artwork is just one of the things you can do with broken items to keep waste out of landfills. Basically we want people to know that stuff you might be throwing away can be turned into beautiful art.”
Close up details- bottle caps, poker chips, fake flowers, smashed tiles, picture frame scraps, bits from old board games

Project Explore is Flynn Elementary School’s grant and donation-funded interdisciplinary arts enrichment program, and has just completed its sixth year in operation. Students utilize the arts as a vehicle to promote higher-level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation to approach problems of global significance, such as waste disposal. Using the arts as a creative avenue that reaches beyond the classroom, each session focuses on a particular content area, such as science, mathematics, or writing, uses an inquiry-based approach, a solution-based application, and works toward an arts-based project or presentation of a solution.

 I had never before (prior to last Friday, anyway) seen anyone walking on North Avenue leave their path to come check out the dumpster fence.  The fence, of course, works to hide the problem. This mosaic and these students are hoping to draw you in and make you think about it instead.  So it was awesome when the screws were not even all in, and over came a person waiting for the bus, wanting to hear more about it. 

Art Cup and diagram
 Now, that is not all that happened in Project Explore this Spring.  I promise to tell you more soon. The picture above is a window into the grade 4 group, who learned about electrical circuits through lots and lots of experimenting. And only a few things went up in smoke.  But it's all about the process folks. More to come on this group soon.

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