It’s closer to October 3, and the CLP schools are still preparing for the Grand Center installation as well as finishing installations in their individual schools. At Cole Elementary, also known as Cole EMints Academy, you can feel the excitement ever-increasing. Mr. Leosh’s art classroom gives evidence of the activity from the summer up until now-stacks of collages, bags of plastic circles, mini light sculptures made from soda bottles. The room is a cheerful whirl of color and art materials.
For their school installation, the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders have made translucent circles out of sequins, colored plastic, and wire rings. These circles will hang in a front archway of the school and shimmer as they shake in the breeze. This artpiece is not only an exercise in making art physically, like gluing sequins to paper, but it is a way to explore the existence of light in the world. With just the plastic circles, the students can see how light changes the way something looks, depending on the time of day, the way the light hits an object, and the translucency or opaqueness of an object.
The students have drawn pictures of what they imagine the archway artwork will look like:
As a way to to think about light in water, another school installation will be two display cases with underwater scenes, made from the students’ construction paper depictions of underwater animals. On tables you can see yellow penguins and a green-headed octopus with ribbon-like tentacles.
One student talks about her sharks:
For something truly original, Cole plans to cover an art deco light fixture, in the building’s entrance, with pictures of flowers and hang a disco ball from the bottom of it.
“So we can see how the light reflects on the walls,” Leosh said.
Mr. Leosh gives an explanation of what the kids have been creating:
In addition to the light installation, Cole students will be doing a music performance in Grand Center for the Street Festival. They have been making instruments out of paper, plastic, wood, and various other easy-to-obtain materials. This aspect of the CLP is also a collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and was spawned after a percussionist from the orchestra visited the kids and talked about percussion.
Three students jam on instruments they made:
“I learned that you can make drums from stuff like this,” Warrett, a fifth-grader, said, as he pointed to his cardboard drum-guitar.
Instead of making actual drums, some students made “guitars,” guitar-shaped paper sculptures, which will be hit with mallets to make music. There are little plastic pockets made from plastic bottles on them. At the Street Festival, the kids will put either things that light up, like blinking keychains, or things that glow in the dark, like glow-in-the-dark necklaces, inside these pockets to play again with light.
A girl drums her guitar:
Perhaps the grand finale will be when all the schools are together for the public installation they made as a team. Each school will have two 6ft tall cylinders that will be filled with things they’ve made.
Here is a photo-shopped idea of what it will look like:
Here are the plans for Cole’s cylinders:
Jonathan Leosh has been teaching at Cole for 3 years, and this is the first year the school has joined forces with the Pulitzer.
“This has been a great experience in getting the kids to appreciate the process of making art, as well as the product itself. We already have two upcoming plans to work with the Pulitzer again, and I hope that this is a continuing relationship,” Leosh said.
So even though the CLP will be coming to a close, there is still more to look forward to.