Our Newest Project

Posted on 15th July 2010 by admin in Rivers of the world

Wear the River!
Proposal: An Artist-in-Residency Workshop, with Environmental Artist Bernice Davidson, at The Interg
enerational School, Cleveland, Ohio.
Overview
This Artist Residency instills all learners of all ages with a sense of ownership/stewardship of their neighborhood waterway — the Doan Brook — through the creation of wearable art. Our motto is: “Appreciate the Water thru C.E.I.L.” — Creativity, Exploration, and Intergenerational Learning. Participants of this project are students from K thru 8th grade, and their adult learner mentors, including younger adults and elders, who ”volunteer” at The Intergenerational School (TIS).
Background
The project builds on TIS’s longstanding relationships with community organizations such as: Judson Smart Living residential community, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, and Case Western Reserve University. The school has won awards for its multimedia narrative projects to enhance learners’ connections to nature (EPA Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder contest, in 2009). Natural themes such as watershed appreciation are incorporated into the school’s science and health curricula.
Strategies
The project begins with a presentation for participants in the auditorium. Artist Bernice Davidson will introduce the Global Rivers Art Exchange paintings, on display at the school during September and October, 2010. These paintings have been gathered by the artist over a 14-year period, from accomplished adult and talented younger artists on 4 continents. Ms. Davidson will tell the stories of these paintings, and how each helps to give voice to the water.
All participants will then begin to learn about the Doan Brook — a beautiful, critically important, pedagogically valuable waterway in their own neighborhood. They will also learn, along with their mentors, how the Doan Brook was saved from destruction by some dedicated heroes in their community during the 1960s.
In their Art Class period, participants will adopt a fish, animal, plant or insect that makes its home in or around the Doan Brook. They will use these images to create masks, headdresses, and hats, etc., to wear later in the year at Parade the Circle – the annual public event sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art, which takes place in the Doan Brook watershed. Students will also construct their own stories about the Doan Brook centered upon their projects and relationships to this watershed.
A core group will be chosen to create weather-resistant banners to hang in the neighborhood, showing appreciation for the Doan Brook and for the people who saved it. These banners will also be carried in Parade the Circle.

Classroom Activities
Participants will work with the marvelous material known as plaster gauze. This gauze is permeated with plaster that activates with warm water, and which can be molded and shaped into any configuration. Seniors will be given hat blanks to work with. Primary cluster students will create masks. Junior cluster students will create headdresses, and Senior cluster students will create staffs or capes. These parade costumes all have roots in African culture, which the Global Rivers team learned about when they went to Ghana, West Africa to collect paintings for the Global Rivers Art Exchange.
Objective
Art, creativity and storytelling are important catalysts in bonding both young and old to the care of their waterways. When the river becomes muse a special relationship is born, which can ensure the protection of the waterway for generations to come. Our rivers become and remain clean, due to the creativity and determination of diverse groups of concerned, local people!

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