Web of community ties Mirman together
Working together and led by Art Teacher Patter Hellstrom, Assistant Teacher Giovanni Zelaya, and student leaders from US4, the Mirman community has produced its first large scale art installation in the newly expanded east garden area. Appropriately situated, in part, over a bench memorializing founders Beverly and Norman Mirman, the web installation spans a large area between the trees that shade the lawn. Hanging from the web are smaller sculptures made by Lower School students as well as LED lights soldered together by Upper School students. On a recent afternoon, the US4 class was working hard on putting some finishing touches on the project, which they hope to wrap up by the week's end.
"I saw the web as a meaning filled start this year for the visual art program," said Ms. Hellstrom. "I was inspired by the Mirman mission — developing a diverse community of creative and constructive lifelong learners. Students shared experiences by telling their stories then created art together, building collaboration skills and navigated group decision making. Shared experience creates community."
By all accounts, the project has been a success in that regard. "We've learned a lot about teamwork since this is such a collaborative project," said US4 student Ella W, one of the US4 students who designed the web pattern.
"I think accurately represents the different voices at play," added Sydney F., who was learning how to "finger knit" from classmate Lennox W. Lennox attributed his skills to taking the knitting and crochet elective offered by Mme. Sacks during his US1 year.
Not far away, sitting on the ground and weaving several of Lennox's strands together was Otto D., who had worked to craft a smaller-scale installation of yarn webs from efforts by the Lower School students. And following the strands of the web eastward, Celine A. was assisting her classmates by helping to steady a ladder and provide monofilament wire for additional hangings. "I'm really interested in the color schemes," she said, adding that it was her first installation piece.
Although one of the aims of the project was to "explore the contemporary art of 'Yarn Bombing,'" according to Hellstrom, this web of community is made of more than yarn and wire. Inside the art studio, students worked with Upper School Technology Specialist Sean Lueder to solder together beautiful crystalline arrangements of LED lights. Powered by attached battery packs, the lights will lend a glittery glow to the web structure, particularly in the morning and evening light.
Future plans for the installation are in the works long after the piece is finished: Ella W. shared that the class would be taking digital photos of the piece for their upcoming photo unit, and Riley H. added that it was the hope that students could sit underneath the piece and enjoy it during recess and lunch. Make sure you stop by and get caught up in the web for a while!