Archive for the ‘Community Arts’ Category

Condor and Hornbill on Aviary Fence

Tracy Aviary is installing a new feature for kids of all ages to see how they measure up to the world’s great birds. The first two birds, an Andean Condor and a Southern Ground Hornbill painted by Chris Peterson, were delivered last week by Gr8West. They are part of a long fence where a dozen more life-size bird paintings will allow visitors to spread their wings to see how they measure up.

The addition of the large bird painting cutouts is the latest initiative of our ArtParks Project. Since 2008, Gr8West has partnered with the Aviary to provide art and the close interaction with birds to foster creativity and learning about nature.

Insert Heads Here. Pelican drawing by Tony Poulson

With initial funding from the Salt Lake Education Foundation, students from Dilworth Elementary and Lincoln Elementary contributed some decorative elements and design ideas. A variety of children groups have participated since then. Today, thanks to the leadership of Tim Brown, the Tracy Aviary has considered children in its design as it has evolved and constructed new exhibits and spaces.

In addition to the dozen birds we are working on now, we’re also creating some large posing stations for visitors to take snapshots at, including a 10-foot tall pelican (see Tony’s drawing).

Come on down and see whats happening with the birds!


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We have been working with Tracy Aviary to develop the Children’s Art Park for almost three years. We are excited to partner with Tracy Aviary this summer to offer children’s art programming in the ArtPark on Saturdays. Click on the image for a link to the info on their webpage.

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Last night, I attended a packed Salt Lake City Council Meeting as a member of the Sorenson Unity Center’s Garden Committee to speak in favor of Mayor Ralph Becker’s CDBG budget proposal; specifically for the funding for Unity Center’s backyard Community Art Garden within that budget. Great West Institute is a partner with the Unity Center on this project. I was given two minutes to speak and made it within the last three sentences of finishing. Here’s my remarks in their entirety, making the case for the Art Garden and explaining what we’re hoping to do:

The mission of the Sorenson Unity Center is to enhance lives through visual and performing arts and serve as a community gathering place. I believe the Community Garden and Outdoor Event Space represents an incredible opportunity to truly fulfill the intent of this mission.

I became involved in this project because I believe in the importance of natural open space in urban and suburban areas and that art can be utilized as an empowerment and community building tool. This project lies at the nexus of these two ideas. (more…)

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Last weekend, over the course of three days, I facilitated the creation of a mural at Club Red Afterschool Program in Moab.We had Thursday and Friday afternoons with the kids, who were mostly high school age (12-18). Participation is optional, so I was warned that getting them to do much of anything would be difficult- Lots of texting and such.

Moab student posing in front of mural

On Thursday afternoon, after some coaxing and bribes of pizza for later, eight or so students sat around a butcher paper covered table and doodled with markers. The instructions were: “Draw from your imagination”. The conversation that was going on during the drawing helped to determine the objects drawn. There was a lot of self-doubt about the ability to draw well/realistically. I had to really convince them away from such self-consciousness and tried to model drawings that were obviously not realistic. The conversation that was going on during the drawing helped to determine the objects drawn. (more…)

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Spent the afternoon working with the teens in Moab on a mural. We began with imagination-based drawings and then transferred the ideas to the wall. I particularly enjoy the Ibex.

More pics tomorrow. Stay tuned. (more…)

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I posted this last week to the Trivani Field Notes blog, but wanted to pass it on to Great West readers as well…
I am so excited to pass on this report from Uganda I just received today. Moses Echibu, one of the field staff at Asayo’s Wish Orphanage just sent me this email that includes photographs of a new mural on the girls curtain latrine at the orphanage. As an “art student”, Moses has continued to work with the children, allowing them opportunities to be expressive and creative with paint. (The paint was left from the first mural undertaken at the Orphanage in September when Megan and I were there last. ) Thanks Moses!


hi chris,
how are you ? did you have a merry christmas ? i hope so !!!! we had ours with the orphans and it was so nice and lovely. the kids would love to know how you enjoyed your christmas. i told them that you are in the winter, i explained to them how very very cold it is there in the US. they were like how did you manage to enjoy your christmas. (more…)

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By Chris Peterson and Brooke Williams

THESIS: We propose that facilitating and investing in the creativity and imagination of the next generation is perhaps our greatest hope for a sustainable future on Planet Earth.

The ArtParks Experiment is designed to produce an urban parkspace development model for application in urban and suburban areas that is driven by grassroots processes involving art, local leadership, and a network of community relationships and resources.

BACKGROUND: Richard Louv’s bestselling book The Last Child in the Woods provides strong evidence that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. Nature Deficit Disorder, as he calls it, is the product of children not spending enough “unstructured play time in natural areas”. Based upon our own experience, we agree and think that imagination and creativity are the perfect vehicle for a grassroots approach to this problem.

In response to the idea that children in urban and suburban areas are the most susceptible to Nature Deficit Disorder, Great West Institute began work on rethinking the urban and suburban parkspaces and the ideas of David Sobel‘s place based-education. The result is a multi-phased pilot project dubbed (more…)

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