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19 Feb 14:52

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman

by Christopher Jobson

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman Vancouver nets installation

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman Vancouver nets installation

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman Vancouver nets installation

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman Vancouver nets installation

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman Vancouver nets installation

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman Vancouver nets installation

Giant Suspended Net Installations by Janet Echelman Vancouver nets installation

In the late 1990s artist Janet Echelman traveled to India as a Fulbright Scholar with the intention of giving painting exhibitions around the country. She shipped her painting supplies ahead of time and landed in the fishing village of Mahabalipuram to begin her exhibitions with one major hitch: the painting supplies never arrived. While walking through the village Echelman was struck by the quality and variety of nets used by the local fisherman and questioned what it might look like if such nets were hung and illuminated in the air. Could it be a new approach to sculpture? A new chapter in her artist career was born, and the artist has since dedicated her time and energy to creating these massive net sculptures in locations around the world.

Echelman is currently embarking on her largest piece ever, a 700-foot-long sculpture that will be suspended over Vancouver next month in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the TED Conference. In collaboration with the Burrard Arts Foundation, she’s currently seeking funding via Kickstarter to make it happen. There’s all kinds of great prints, postcards, and shirts available so check it out.

13 Jan 02:14

Apples & Buckets :: Simple Props for Creative Play

by Jean Van't Hul

Open Ended Play for Kids Inspired by Rainbow-Colored Wooden Apples and Buckets

My four-year-old and her friend Emily surprised me by playing for hours with some little wooden apples and rainbow buckets

They sorted them, carried them, "ate" them, fed them to their (stuffed) animals, danced with them, created games around them, brought them along in the car and giggled about what silly things Maia might do with them when we picked her up, hid them, found them, and carried (pretend) water in the buckets.

Wood Apples and Buckets 01

I could have encouraged them to count or sort the apples (they did the latter anyway) or play a game with the apples, but I didn't. 

I just set the apples and buckets out on the table. An invitation to play. Didn't even mention them.

Wood Apples and Buckets 07

It wasn't long before Emily and Daphne discovered the apples and buckets...

(The wild looking one with the post-braid frizz hair is mine, of course.)

Wood Apples and Buckets 10

...sorted the apples into their color-coded buckets...

Wood Apples and Buckets 17

...and were off! Easily and joyfully incorporating their find into their ongoing imaginative play.

Wood Apples and Buckets 18

They took turns playing music on the keyboard and dancing with the buckets of apples (I didn't quite understand why, but that's not the point, is it?).

Wood Apples and Buckets 19

Another time I might bring out the color die I also ordered and introduce a more structured game with the wooden apples and buckets. But not this time. Their imagination was the only foil these simple, colorful props needed for an afternoon of pretend play.

If you have little ones, I highly recommend similar open-ended toys. I purchased these from Mama May i, one of my long-time blog sponsors.

When I told Jessica, from Mama May i, how much fun Daphne and Emily had with the buckets and apples, she described how her kids played with them:

I let my daughters' play with the buckets, rainbow roller, and apples over Thanksgiving and they played an apple-collecting game to try to empty the buckets. But they would often get " color blocked" or "size blocked" by the other. Then we talked about who had "more" or "less" red, purple, big, little, medium, etc. They loved it! 

Mama May i also sells lots of other items that are perfect for imaginative play. We have and love these:

Wood Toys for Open Ended Play

 What are your kids' favorite props for open-ended play?

22 Sep 17:19

The Inside Out Project: Look for a Photo Booth Coming Near You!

by SchoolArtsRoom
One advantage of a blog over a magazine is that space is unlimited. Because we didn't have room to print her entire article in the October SchoolArts, I thought I would share Sharon Warwick's complete article here:

The Inside Out Project
Sharon Warwick

"I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world…inside out."

When I showed my students the huge photo installations called “street pastings” of the French artist known only as JR, they were deeply inspired by the way the artist gets communities to express their most important causes and concerns in simple black and white images of human faces.

JR gives everyone the opportunity to share what he or she stands for in public artworks from Australia to Europe, in 108 countries since March 2011. The artist encourages these group actions based on a variety of themes such as hope, diversity, gender-violence, climate change, and more as demonstrated with facial expressions in black and white photographs.

JR exhibits in the streets of the world, using local people as the subjects of the artwork, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. He is transforming messages of personal identity into works of art all over the world. In 2006, he created Portrait of a Generation, portraits of suburban "thugs" that he posted, in huge format, in the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became "official" when the Paris City Hall wrapped its building with JR’s photos.

In 2007 JR made Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal exhibition ever. He posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities. In 2008, he embarked on a long international trip for the Women Are Heroes exhibit. In it he underlines the dignity of all women, who are often the targets of conflicts.

In 2011 JR received a prestigious TED Prize, after which he created Inside Out, the world’s largest participatory art project. This installation allows people worldwide to get their pictures taken and to paste it up in support of an idea and to share their experiences. The artworks are photographic portraits of faces with only one person per portrait. People are instructed to look straight into the camera and let their statements inspire their expression. The portraits in each Inside Out public exhibition are the people who live there.

New Projects
Recently JR has been setting up photo booth trucks (see image above) in different places to bring the printers directly to the streets, enabling the public to participate instantly for free. Participants enter the Photo booth truck and have their photographs taken. Within one minute, a black and white poster is printed and given to the subject. Participants can then take the posters to paste in a public space in their home communities. Inside Out was set up in Times Square in New York City in April-May 2013 and printed and gave away 6000 posters in three weeks.
Making Inside Out Personal
At the Lewisville campus of Winfree Academy Charter Schools, we decided to make our own installation in the windows of our building as part of the memorial we were creating around the flagpole in honor of our late principal, who had recently died. It was necessary to have students provide a signed permission to publish or exhibit their faces if they were under eighteen.
Because the students liked the idea so much they were eager to get their permissions in. We were particularly inspired by JR’s work in Whanganui, New Zealand, because it was displayed in windows.  I asked the students to show how they felt about our school without our principal and students were amazing in their responses. Students’ photographs were placed in each window and they really made the building look like a school. Learning about this artist was a great benefit to our school at a time when the students really needed it.

Inside Out Project Guidelines
Any important subject, any statement, can be strengthened by the INSIDE OUT. The project gives anyone a voice through his or her image. We do not tolerate statements invoking hatred, violence, racism, or extremism of any kind.
  • Portraits are of yourself or of anyone you think has a story that needs to be shared. Look straight into the camera and let your statement inspire your expression. Only one person per portrait. The portrait must be of just your face, with no additional body parts, disguises or pets.
  • No brand, no product, no copyright: You cannot use the project for any commercial purpose. You cannot promote your product or your brand through INSIDE OUT.
  • No publicity for any organization: You cannot use the project to promote your organization’s actions. Even if it’s an NGO, it is the personal stories and statements that Inside Out wants to highlight, not the actions of a specific organization/party.
  • Free portraits: To help us fund INSIDE OUT, we ask for donations of $20 USD per poster. We recognize this amount is out of reach for many people and we will not turn anyone away for lack of funds. If you cannot or choose not to donate, we will gladly reduce the poster price based on our own funds and global geographical equality.
  • Exhibiting posters: INSIDE OUT encourages you to put your poster in the most publicly visible location possible.
Sharon Warwick is an art teacher at Winfree Academy Charter School in Denton, Lewisville, and Irving, Texas.