YouTube videos charting progress of the Cook Arts Center installation
To view the progress of the 10-week art project up until the now, check out videos posted by on YouTube by "studiotalyne" like this one, highlighting these almost famous students.
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Cook Art Center students set up their art installation
The creative minds at SiTE:LAB, those creators of art experiences in real world settings, have their sights set on the tree lined paths and lush green spaces of Blandford Nature Center for a second year in a row. This year they have about 30 pieces of art by students and local artists that are scattered throughout Blandford’s forests and meadows. The installations range from individual artists to groups of artists working in collaboration, some of the pieces are performance based, as is the case with the roving troupe of actors from the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, but most of the art are more of the sculpture variety.
The motto for the SiTE:LAB Blandford event this year seems to be "if it ain’t broke don’t fix it." Tom Clinton from SiTE:LAB says they “were so happy with how things turned out last year that we’re duplicating a lot of that.” Like last year, there will be horse drawn wagon rides and live music both Friday and Saturday. The food will again be catered by Tommy Fitzgerald of Stella’s Café and Brewery Vivant will be providing the beer.
"Be prepared to wander,” says Clinton. “That seems to be the nicest way to experience this...What we found last year is that a lot of people would just go into the trails and wander off and be surprised by what they found there.” For those who prefer more guidance, there will be maps available to find specific pieces of art.
While wandering the trails, viewers may come upon an installation made of recycled biodegradable paper globes strung up with strings in the trees along the path that leads to the old Sugarhouse. This installation was created by students from the Cook Arts Center (CAC) in Grand Rapids over a period of 10 weeks. The artist T’Alyne, one of the teaching artists at the CAC, collaborated with a group of students ranging from kindergarten to 8th grade (the youngest artists to participate in the event) to develop a concept and a project that would be installed at Blandford.
After some brainstorming sessions, the students decided to create paper globes reminiscent of the gigantic sphere we live on. T’Alyne explains that the students are concerned about the environment and “really wanted to focus on the global impact of pollution and the need to recycle.” In keeping with their environmental theme, they used shredded office paper to construct their sculptures. “We wanted to make sure that our project would just disappear once the exhibition was done,” says T’Alyne. The students even went so far as to embed seeds into each of the sculptures so that as their temporal globes fade away they will produce more lasting artwork in the form of wildflowers and new grass.
T’Alyne shot YouTube videos of these aspiring young artists all the way through the process. “[I] wanted them to feel as though they were famous,” she says. This worked to build up their self-confidence and helped them to take ownership of the project. What ended up happening as the kids were being filmed, says T'Alyne, was that leaders emerged and a stronger team was established to tackle the creation of this earth-friendly art installation.
The SiTE:LAB at Blandford exhibition will run this Friday, June 15 from 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, June 16 from 12 to 5 p.m.
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