Through July we hosted one of the Say Yes summer camps on Thursdays. Our curriculum guided the students through an exploration of the plant world via the mediums of poetry, art and horticulture. We asked them to imagine and draw what they would look like and what 'fruits' they would produce if they were plants. They wrote poems describing these alter egos. They concocted Latin names, their genus and species, that best described the features of the plants drawn and described. The campers then brought all of this creations together into distinct ecosystems that they created, working together to figure out the environmental conditions and the landscapes necessary to support these plants as communities.
Some of the highlights included the responses "Something that you love" when we asked what an ecosystem is, and "A place where everyone helps each other" when we asked what a community is. Brother Maars (the talented local artist currently on exhibit in the gallery) co-taught an art session with the boys. When he asked them if any of them had ever worked on a piece of art for five months one eight year old boy immediately replied "Of course. It was just a collage but it was a complicated piece". They also grabbed a few minutes to rock out on our 'stair banjo', made by Zeke Leonard.
The creative potential that every child has is incredible and we hope their experience at 601 will be play a part in their development as cultural producers. All of their work was recorded in notebooks which they personally customized and brought with them at the end of their last session as an artifact and a record of their work.
Many thanks to the Say Yes program for running these summer camps and for collaborating with us!