This spring I joined up with the Milton Art Center's fourth annual Art in the Windows project. This year, 183 kids participated in this community art project. The kids were divided into 15 groups. Each group worked on an art installation that were then sprinkled throughout the town of Milton. Just so you know, Milton is a medium-sized town that borders with Boston, Massachusetts.
My young group of artists were in the 1st grade Daisy Scout Troop 69267. Daisy Scouts are the younger version of Girl Scouts. Like the Girl Scouts, each Daisy Scout works on specific activities which is then commemorated by a special pin or badge. These get added to her uniform. This project coordinated to one of their community-related badges.
Art in the Windows has always revolve around a theme. This year the theme was "Up in the Air". Milton residents have been very concerned about the noise and air pollution caused by the airline flight paths running over the town. The art instructors worked with their group and brainstormed how they would represent "Up in the Air".
Well, if you didn't know 1st graders, they can be extremely literal or way out there. After some discussion we decided on the sun and flowers.
I came up with a few ideas. We all agreed that we would use as many recycled materials as possible. So, we decided to construct a sun/flower out of hoops and plastic bags. We bought some hoops and collected A LOT of plastic shopping bags. (The girls collected over 200 bags!) We trimmed the bottoms and the handles of each bag. We did this so that the bags would be foofy when we knotted them to the hoops. We also divided our bags into different colors. FYI, A large majority of our bags were white and red bags from Target. I sketched our project and shared it with the troop, the troop leaders and the Milton Art Center (MAC). The girls liked that we left the inner most circle open, especially when I said they could take pictures inside of it. I made sure to mention math to the girls and how I used geometric formulas to estimate how many bags we needed. I know it was too advanced for 1st graders, but I just wanted to show that math and art are connected.
We met a couple more times. I showed the girls how to tie a lark's head knot. It's a very simple knot and eventually almost all of them figured out how to tie one. The girls got to knotting and I think they had some zen moments. Repetitive stuff can sometimes do that to you.
Once we finished, the MAC, the troop leaders and myself figured out where it would go. I then figured out how to hang it between 2 long garden stakes. When completed, many commuters enjoyed ours and other "Art in the Windows" installations while driving through town.