The Seed has a gallery in the making. It was an idea born in August before school started. It’s weathered several transitions and is finally taking shape. If you look closely, you’ll see some of the shelves backdropped by splattery paintings. Lined up side by side are handmade “snow globes” with a photo of a child in each one. Shake them, and the glitter flutters to the bottom. On the next shelf over are artifacts from “Candy Village,” a pre-holiday project made from Halloween candy leftovers. The candy projects were made by groups of kids, all of whom drew blueprints prior to constructing their masterpieces. Photographs of the artists, as well as the constructions themselves, are proudly displayed.
Moving to the next shelf, a collection of small clay sculptures, all painted white, attracts onlookers’ eyes. Some resemble snowmen and others are more abstract. A few have thin wooden sticks poking up from them. One solitary sign that says “anonymous” lets us know that these were most likely the unclaimed remaining works of art nobody took home. On the back of the leftover sculpture shelf is a collection of photos of children using PVC pipes connected to make indoor hockey sticks. One child’s construction resembled a push broom. I expect there will be more such photos of the many items created that fall in the “ephemeral art” category. Marble runs, block ramps, Lincoln log buildings and railroad tracks will be among the groups photographed and not displayed. They make up the bulk of constructed works in the multi, projects that are more process than product. Cardboard bases will soon be available to showcase some of these “process” projects for temporary display.
What I love about the gallery (named KIOS, Kids in After School), and the approach to art the after school staff is taking this year, is that it’s an evolving project. It’s challenging to meet the needs of children ages 3-10 through one daily project, so many of the projects have multiple stages. Younger students can keep theirs simple and older ones have the freedom to add complexity to theirs over time. There is also a strong effort to embed qualities of STEAM lessons into after school art. In the days ahead a tree house project is on the drawing board, which will be another group project that will require a child-generated plan before diving into the materials. Having been a tree house kid as a child, I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I’m guessing you’ll hear about this project again before the year is over.