Birchwood Elementary focused their ArtistsInspire around their school’s themes and the high value they place on nature, well being and the endangered species of Canada. The aim was to develop an art project that encouraged mindfulness, in the belief that students gain more by participating in cooperative projects.
Visual Arts teacher Erin Wainwright planned a nature based project for a large Bas-Relief mural, using the theme of Spirals as a starting point. Her goal was to use mindfulness and meditation in the creative process to help students develop a sense of calm. The project also focused on re-using and salvaging materials.
With Artist Madeleine Turgeon, students built a multi-media mosaic where each individual tessera (the piece of mosaic work) was hand formed. She began the five week art project with an introductory presentation to inform the students about all of the elements involved. Madeleine guided them in creating a large maple leaf shape for the Bas-Relief sculpture, which was created collaboratively, with thousands of pieces glued together.
The final three dimensional work of art was mounted on a solid structure and varnished to ensure its durability and strength. In the words of Ms. Wainwright, nature’s spirals provided “an analogy between the disappearance of animals/habitats and the circular reality of reduce-reuse and recycle”. The resulting art is a striking piece celebrating colour, ecology and well being.
Birchwood School’s ArtistsInspire Grant experience was made possible by an ELAN Quebec/LEARN partnership for students from Quebec’s English-speaking communities to participate in arts and culture experiences, thanks in part to funding from the Government of Canada.
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