Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

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Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby jcliff » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks for looking and thank you in advance for your guidance. I work as a Dean at a Catholic High School in the Chicago area, and I'm once again gearing up for a community art project created by our kids to be brought to Burning Man. My employers are very supportive of my yearly pilgrimage to Burning Man, and they encourage me to get our kids involved. In 2012 we created the Fertile Turtle that was a mosaic of 400 individual student paintings that together created our Mamma turtle in her water environment. Our project was displayed on a kiosk in the Center Camp Café. It was one of the best projects I've ever been a part of. We took 2013 off, but are hoping to create another community art project for 2014.

In 2012 we were able to create a project that worked with the art theme, but this year we are drawing blanks. I want to share my tentative idea for a 2014 project before I bring it to our Art Department teachers. My idea is to break away from the art theme and go with something that my high school students can fully understand and run with. My suggested theme is, "If you could wish one thing for a stranger, what would you wish?"

The project would for a 3' x 3' kiosk space in Center Camp. The plywood board would be painted based on our theme, and would have a written description of our project at the top. My kids would create a bookmark that would artistically represent their wish for a Burner stranger. They could paint or draw their wish or write something to the beneficiary of their gift. We would laminate all the bookmarks so they stand the test of time and playa. The bookmarks would be displayed on "clotheslines" attached to the board with a clip on horizontal rows and Burners could choose a gift that speaks to them. I think I could easily display 100 at a time, and I'd refill them as the week goes on.

Here's where the art gets interactive (and it would be explained in the art project explanation on the board.) Clipped to the back of each bookmark would be a postcard addressed to the artist (our school address with only their first name.) The postcard will have a number on it that we could track to the artist. Each postcard will already have a stamp affixed. On the bottom of the board, there will be two wooden bins attached. One that contains colored pens, paint pens, colored sharpies, colored pencils. The other little bin will be a spot for completed postcards that will be sent to the artist from Black Rock City. Boiled down, this is a pen-pal project. A Burner takes a bookmark as a gift with a hope for them. The Burner recipient takes a few minutes to send a hope back to the artist in the mail. The Burner has the materials on hand to decorate and embellish their postcard for the artist. They leave their completed postcard in the bin and I send them from the playa.

Our kids LOVE Burning Man. I would do a presentation to all the participating kids that highlights the art of Burning Man, our 10 principles, and the concept of community art. Gifting and art for art's sake will be a big theme of my presentation.

Your thoughts and guidance will be appreciated! My worries: people will take a bookmark (or many) and not complete the attached postcard, and maybe people will walk off with the art supplies and I'll be left with nothing to complete the project. I would of course check the appropriateness of the postcards, but maybe that would be an issue. Even with these concerns, I trust that Burners that are exploring art in Center Camp would capture the spirit of the project and act accordingly. I may be naïve, so your thoughts are valuable.

Many thanks!
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby GreyCoyote » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:34 pm

No real thoughts except to say: THIS. IS. AWESOME.!

Will happily participate when I get to the Dust. :mrgreen: May just shanghai a few friends too!
"Resistance is futile. You will be commodified"..."
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby tamarakay » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:37 pm

Yes.
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby msj2u » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:24 pm

+1 Definitely on My to do list! Great idea, hope you get alot of responses for the kids!

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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:25 am

Cliff, I saw and loved the turtle two years back, so I'm happy you and your "kids" are at it again!

I, too, was worried about the prospect of some students hearing back, but others never getting anything because the postcard was lost in the shuffle that is TTITD. I think you've probably come across the best solution: collect the postcards at the station in a bin and then you, as the coordinator, haul 'em over to the BRC Post Office every afternoon or so. If you make it really clear that "COMPLETED RESPONSES GO HERE --->," I don't think you'll lose too many, unless some burner thinks the art is so cool they have to take it home for their private collection.

Another possibility would be to have the kids collaborate on bookmarks. Student A works with Student B on a bookmark, then A with C and B with D. Each student helps create at least two bookmarks, which increases their chance of hearing something back and lets them participate in that "communal effort" or whatever everyone goes on about ;P

The messages on jointly-created bookmarks may become less intimate as a result of their being vetted with a classmate, but I think it gives the students time for some really interesting discourse in groups of two or three.

Also, postcards are completely in the theme - the silk road transported information and news just as much as it transported camels and spices.
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby VultureChow » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:21 am

Well since you asked...


1) AWESOME

2)Multiple cards per pupil. You want to make sure everyone gets one back, and since you are collecting them, you can keep track and ask some burners to fill out specific cards if you're still missing a few people at the end of the week.

3) Add gift instructions as well. As long a you keep the "deposit" box to a narrow slit, you'll keep trash out, but people might like to give stickers, patches, necklaces, whatever.

4) Art supplies - I'd keep it simple, but make sure you have extras to replenish as the week goes on.
FREE THE STRIPPERS!
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby jcliff » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:01 am

Thank you for the encouragement! We are a go for this project! Special thanks to you Scout for putting us in line with the art theme! I'm very excited about this!
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby nickfarr » Tue May 13, 2014 2:35 pm

I help run the Post Office and this sounds like a really amazing project! We are really hoping to get people using the mail system this year and please let me know ANYTHING I can do to help support this project!

Just so you know, we provide free postage to anyone who brings a postcard to be mailed to us at 3, 9 and CC. We'd also be happy to provide a nearby box for responses specifically for this project!
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby jcliff » Tue May 13, 2014 2:49 pm

Thank you Nick! That's a huge good news that BRPO offers free postage stamps for postcards! I pay for the materials and shipping for our Burning Man art projects, so that is a BIG help! No worries on a separate mail box, I have no problem riding postcards up to the 9 or 3 plaza each day! Many thanks for the digital high five! Hope to meet you at the Post Office!
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby Ratty » Tue May 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Wait a darn minute. Every year I bring a sheet of post card stamps and gift it to the PO. The first year I tried to mail something home they didn't have any stamps. Some nice person gave me a stamp. Are you telling me they provide free stamps at the post office? I read the post three times. I'll spend that money on extra salami. (Nobody turns down salami when offered.)
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby jcliff » Tue May 13, 2014 4:32 pm

Ratty, A.1) Salami is always a wonderful gift. Cured meat has built-in defenses against bacteria. I've taken to providing summer sausage, easy-cheese (yes, from the aerosolized can,) and Ritz crackers as a happy hour boquita. Everybody LOVES it! No refrigeration needed! B.2) You offered me a necessary heads-up to make sure my project is viable without postcard stamps. Let's hope for no postcard stamps necessary!
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby Ratty » Tue May 13, 2014 11:20 pm

jcliff, You and I eat alike. The dollar stores carry small pkgs of delicious sliced salami no refrigeration necessary. I love easy-cheesey on the playa. A variety of crackers. Also sardines! They are like heaven out there. My cooler is for Gatorade, canned apricots & peaches, beer and wine. Later in the week I'll chill a big jar of pickles and a gallon jug of pepperoncinis. A gallon of pepperoncinis on a cracker with cheez whiz disappear FAST.
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Re: Looking for feedback! BM School Art Project!

Postby andy » Fri May 16, 2014 12:11 pm

You should email Kat at café-art@burningman.com, the coordinator for Café art. I think yours is a great idea.
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