We’ve just completed two Sculpture Weeks at Patchwork. They are great examples of the kind of high quality arts experience that we offer children. It’s definitely NOT your average arts and crafts time!
The weeks were led by Rob Millard-Mendez, an associate professor of art at the University of Southern Indiana. We began with a tour of the art in our neighborhood. At one point, the group compared one sculpture that was part of the Sculpt EVV outdoor art exhibition with an abandoned chest of drawers on a concrete pad across the street. The two objects provided an opportunity to ponder the questions: What is conceptual art? Of these two installations on Adams Avenue, which one was created by a professional artist? Which one or both could be considered conceptual art? What commentary does each provide on its urban setting?
After the tour, the kids got to work on reinventing and refreshing some of Patchwork’s outdoor sculptures. Rob led them through the entire process from ideas and sketches to the design phase and construction. They worked with wood, ceramics, metal, bamboo, found objects, paint, and power tools to make their ideas a reality. As with all art projects, there was a great deal of creative problem solving involved as we discovered challenges and roadblocks.
As a result of their hard work, our 10-year-old giraffe sculpture has a new lease on life, our bike rack sculpture has a fresh coat of paint, and work is underway toward an extraordinary new sign to mark Patchwork’s Meetinghouse. The new sign should do a much better job of expressing who we are and what we do. The sign is in the shape of a hand and will include our name and ceramic images that convey the variety of activities that take place in our building. It will also incorporate repurposed parts from the beloved old stove that we removed from Patchwork’s kitchen back in 2010.
Gavin is the youth whose hand served as the model for the sign. As a group transferred the tracing of his hand to a seven-foot-tall paper model for the piece, he urged everyone to make sure it looked right. “I don’t want to have to see some mistake every time I drive by,” he said.
What a special opportunity for kids to know that their ideas and their artwork will be on display for the city to see for years to come.
Here’s the initial sketch of the idea: