OK we are on a roll.. Global Rivers goes back to Cleveland the city where it started in 1996

Posted on 20th January 2011 by admin in Rivers of the world

For the past year, GRAE has been working on a project that connects progressive institutions to one another in the Cleveland-area:  The Intergenerational School (TIS); a retirement community called Judson Park; The Shaker Lakes Nature CenterThe Doan Brook Partnership; and Parade The Circle, put on every summer by The Cleveland Museum of Art.  The goal: facilitate collaboration between institutions to bond people of all ages to their local watershed.

The next phase of the project will begin on February 28th, 2011, and here’s the agenda:

Bonding the Youth and Elders of The School for Intergenerational Study to the Doan Brook Watershed.

Project Description

A five day artist-in-residency program created for elementary age students and their elder mentors, wherein the participants will learn the rich history of the Doan Brook.

The course of study will proceed in chronological order of events:

  • the Wisconsin Glaciation and the tribes that migrated from Asia during prehistoric times. 
  • The Erie Indians and other native groups that lived in this region. 
  • The Shaker people and the wool mill they operated on the Doan Brook.
  • The late 19th century, when the Rockefeller family purchased the land bordering the Doan for city workers to have a lovely place to stroll and appreciate nature.
  • The 1960’s, when the Army Core of Engineers proposed to cover the Doan Brook with a highway system. Residents protested against this idea with demonstrations and were successful in preserving this natural treasure for the people of Cleveland.

The students will interpret these stories in drawings and a core group of participants will work on making giant puppets and hats to wear in a “river appreciation parade” which will take place in their neighborhood. In June there will be another opportunity to “wear their river” costumes in the famous Parade the Circle event hosted by the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Working with the Elders
As mentioned previously there is a fascinating component to the Doan Brook history which occurred in the 1960’s. Neighborhood activists blocked the proposal to cover the Doan brook with a highway system. Several of these Freeway Fighters are living in Judson Manner and Judson Park retirement centers. Judson partners closely with TIS. They both share the philosophy of the importance of integrating the different generations and bonding both the students and the elders with the natural world.

The Global Rivers Art Exchange shares this exact goal. We will blend our projects by taking up residency in the guest apartment at one of the Judson facilities; there we will meet the elders who heroically stood up for the Doan. As they tell their stories I will create large watercolor portraits that the students will carry in the parade. We will also be collecting Wishes for the River Doan that the elders offer to us. The children will fold these wishes into Origami figures that they will wear in the parade.

A Sister School Collaboration                                                                                                                                                                                                          The students of the Martin Methodist College Art team have joined TIS in a creative partnership to help teach the participants in Cleveland about their river. They have created headdresses to be worn in the parade and are working on a giant puppet called Pappy Water who will hold the history of the Doan on his garment. Since the Doan is famous for the Shaker community and their wool mill, Pappy Water is made entirely of wool felt. The students will be shown the simple process of felting and will be able to contribute felt pieces to the puppet.

The TIS School already has a wonderful environmental project called the Forest Garden. Our goal is to put some of the students to work painting their rain barrel water catchments with the pictorial history of the Doan. Working in consort with TIS art instructor Arenda Evens we plan to give each core group a task that will lead to completing these goals.

As the Director of the Global Rivers Art Exchange Project, I, Bernice Davidson, will facilitate this art project,  and will also bring art from 3 continents, about the rivers of the world, to display at the school during the residency..From  April to June 2011 The Global Rivers Art  will be on display at the Shaker Nature Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

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