Silvermine Art Partners' program creates 'Garden People'
Silvermine Arts Center's outreach program, Art Partners, has collaborated with Norwalk's Brookside Elementary School's third-grade students and their teachers, the Norwalk Recreation and Parks Department and Fodor Farm to create "Garden People," a permanent sculptural installation.
The project, which the students have worked on this spring, will culminate with an installation ceremony on Monday, June 10, from 1 to 2 p.m.
Thanks to a grant received from the State of Connecticut, Art Partners' teaching artists, author Page McBrier, visual artist Marta Kot, the third-grade teachers of Brookside and Outreach Education Director Sophia Gevas have implemented the project, which integrates learning in science, literacy and the arts for the students. Facilitated by McBrier, the students have researched vegetable, herb, bee and flower facts and wrote "odes" to their favorite plant on cards that have been decorated and laminated.
The City of Norwalk has constructed and provided nine 6-foot-tall scarecrow-like structures for the project and Kot has worked with the students to creatively paint and adorn these "Garden People." The laminated cards on each of the figures will contain factual information and the odes. The movement of the cards will make the figures effectively scarecrows as well as fun, informative sculptures.
The "Garden People" will be permanently located at Fodor Farm, the oldest continuous agricultural site in Norwalk, and currently a community garden on Flax Hill Road. The "Garden People" will be strategically located and can be seen from the street as well as the upper and lower gardens.
This year's third-graders will present their work to the current second-graders, who, next year, will research, develop and create new odes to attach to the sculptures, creating a new "tradition" for Brookside third-graders.
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Art Partners is an arts education program launched in 1992 that places professional teaching artists in the classrooms of area urban schools to offer hands-on curriculum based art classes. Critical thinking, team building and integrated learning using many senses are the hallmarks of Art Partners. Connecticut's achievement gap is the largest in the United States. Art Partners serves to close the gap by focusing on schools that have a high percentage of minority and English as a Second Language students. Art Partners is one of the few independent visual art programs currently available in the Norwalk and Stamford schools.
During the past 21 years, more than 11,000 Norwalk and Stamford students between the ages of 6 and 18 have benefited from participation in the program.
For information, call 203-966-9700 or visit www.silvermineart.org.