Over the years I have had the incredible experience of working with kids on collaborative art projects. Some projects, such as Teepees! were purely for the pleasure of working together to create a beautiful piece for the public to enjoy. I have also worked with kids to create a tribute as seen in the Tower of Angels to commemorate those lost in the 9/11 tragedy. The children of Hilltop School in Mendham, NJ created The Giving Garden, a series of painted rocks, which were sold to raise money for the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia. I have taught children to weave and we created a fort during a series of sunny afternoons.
Weaving a Fort
The purpose of this project was to introduce the community of Field Park to weaving and to allow them to work together to make one piece of art. It also demonstrated that you could put together a bunch of random materials to make a beautiful, and in this case, functional piece of art. I built a fort-shaped loom out of PVC pipe and wrapped it in yellow yarn. The students, parents, faculty and staff of Field Park Elementary School in Western Springs, Il were invited to weave a variety of materials. The community donated yarn, fabric, string, ribbons, and paper, pretty much anything that might be lying around the house. We wove the fort every day at lunch recess for a week.
Vacant Lot Art Contest
After car dealership was torn down in my town of Mendham, NJ, a vacant lot was left in the center of town. I was affiliated with the Mendham Junior Women’s Club at the time. I thought it would be a fun to put on The Vacant Lot Art Contest. The hope was that we would get a lot of kids thinking about their town and the environment. Could our contest possibly influence the developers of the lot? We were surprised to get 230 entries and a lot of press coverage in the local newspapers.
Tower of Angels at A Day of Hope and Unity
I was living in NJ on 9/11 and a group of us created a Day of Hope and Unity in November of 2001. The In Motion Dance Company created a beautiful piece, which was performed on the grounds of the Mendham Borough Park. Veterans came to speak. It was a lovely event. I created my Tower of Angels sculpture for the event. It was the NYC skyline made from wood with the twin towers made from wire mesh. I asked the children in surrounding towns to make angels to hang on the towers for those who lost their lives. Over a hundred angels were made.
The Giving Garden
When 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred The Kids Care Community Service Club of Hilltop School in Mendham, NJ mobilized to create The Giving Garden. I was able to get large rocks donated by landscapers and parents in the community to help prime and paint them. Each class was given a rock to paint things that they were thankful for. These rocks were auctioned off to the Mendham community and the proceeds went to the victims in Southeast Asia.
When charged by the Riverside Arts Center (the RAC) to come up with a community art project to use recyclables I came up with Weaving Recyclables. The Riverside Library set up boxes and the town dropped of a huge amount of plastics, electronics and paper, etc. A Volunteer built five 4′ x 5′ looms that were placed in the park for the Riverside Arts Weekend. The community wove on the five looms over a weekend. The finished pieces were displayed in the local library.