Art on Campus: Creating Stories

By 7th grade English Teacher Kate Tabor
Explore the school with a 360° lens. Watch a flipbook of a courtyard bronze launch into space. Discover how much you know about the art on campus. Follow the 7th grade and #FWPCampusArt on Instagram. Imagine what a day in the life of a sculpture might be like. Play with a Beastie-slinky. See the art in the building come to life.
These are just a few of the ways you can experience the projects 7th graders created in English class in a collaboration with Annette Lesak, Eric Rampson and the ILIS Department in the TIDES Garage. For the past two weeks, students considered the art on campus using three big questions: How might we tell the story of the art at Parker? How might we encourage people to interact with the art in non-physical ways? How might we share it with the community?
The project aimed to encourage students to truly see the art on campus and connect with the many pieces that are abstract or have become invisible with time and familiarity. While some art at Parker asks for connection and interaction, other pieces demand something more. The wonderful sculptures by John Kearney* feel like old friends that spark our imagination and engagement, and the Beastie and Stone Elephant on the playground are often covered in children at recess. But there are other sculptures and paintings on campus we pass by without stopping for a look or to consider what they represent and how they came to Parker.
The spark for this project came through my inclusion in this year’s TIDES cohort. I wanted a way to share the wealth of information that previous classes have gathered about the art on campus. Adam Colestock was a wonderful brainstorm partner, and he was invaluable during the project as a resource for students working with Tinkercad, Scratch, and time-lapse photography. He helped the students imagine and facilitate solutions to all types of project challenges. Seth Bacon worked closely with the team learning to use the 360° camera, and Sarah Beebe and Constance Charles were on hand to lend their expertise in programming and problem solving. As their home base for this work, students used the Kovler Family Library TIDES Garage, a makerspace outfitted for the diverse projects students brainstormed.
Most students tried something new for this project. Under Ms. Lesak’s guidance, they learned to use software and hardware, created fresh partnerships and invented ways of looking at the everyday at Parker. Students’ work on these projects embodied the tenets of maker empowerment wonderfully. From discovering the tiles around the building to appreciating the craft and imagination of the artists’ work, the 7th grade will never look at the art on campus in the same way. They want to encourage everyone at Parker to consider campus art as a lively and integral part of our narrative.
Enjoy their projects here.
*There are four sculptures by Kearney: the Goats, the Horse, the Reading Girl and Dan and Jill. Parker also has two bronze plaques by Kearny: the War Memorial and Arthur the Hippo.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.