ABC of Community Arts Project

             ArtStarts ABC Arts Project with Home School students

Last week I completed an arts project I have been facilitating over a period of a few months with a small group of home school students in my community.  We held an exhibit at The Hidden Garden Gallery, our local gallery here in New Denver. The show of work included examples of workshops we did as well as our final group project. The ABCs of Community Arts Project provided an opportunity for a small group of Distributed Learning students from kindergarten through Grade 5 to explore their community and environment through art and the alphabet. This project was funded by ArtStarts in Schools and Arrow Lakes Distributed Learning School.

Through facilitating a range of visual art experiences and local field trips I was able to guide  children to represent key aspects of this place we share as home. DL students are home learners so parent participation was a vital component of this project. This ABC art project consisted of a series of full days, each day made up of art exercises, field trips and an art workshop which focused on a variety of arts media.

We began each day exploring with brush and ink key art elements such as texture charts of natural found objects, line used to express different kinds of weather and experimenting with freestyle lettering. Each student received an art journal which they used for recording visual observations as well as words and letters associated with places we visited on field trips.

 Afternoon art workshops:

Gelatin plate prints of found natural objects collected on our field trip along Carpenter Creek to the Slocan Lake.

Block printing small motifs onto fabric which was then sewn into sachets – designs were inspired by African ‘Adinkra’ stamps and by metalwork seen on our field trip to Sandon.

Paintings of heritage buildings around New Denver

Three dimensional constructions of letters of the alphabet after a visit to the mining museum in Silverton.

Shibori dyed textiles – shibori is a Japanese technique in which fabric is stitched or bound before dyeing so that when the bindings are released a pattern emerges. The field trip on this day was to the Nikkei Centre to learn about the internment of the Japanese people to this area.

Our main project was a culmination of all of their experiences and new skills learned. Working as a group, the children and some of their parents contributed letters of the alphabet in the form of block print designs. Each letter of the alphabet was used to represent elements of our community and natural environment. If you look carefully at each piece you will recognize many small but important details that add perspective when seen as a whole.

We showed all of our blockprints which were cut from Safety Kut blockprinting material.

The Hidden Garden Gallery provided a beautiful intimate space for our show which we held over the busy May day week-end – May 19th to 21st,2012.

I am most grateful to the parents and teachers  who gave me the opportunity to work with these amazing young students, to Arts Starts and Arrow Lakes Distributed Learning School for the funding, to Lucerne School for providing us with classroom space, to The Hidden Garden Gallery for their beautiful gallery space and most of all to the awesome group of children I have had the pleasure of working with.