So it is high time to do some catching up on what’s been going on in the busy world of Polished Jade! From the day after Martin Luther King Day in the midst of a very cold January in Minnesota to the day after Would you be my Valentine I participated in a collaborative artist residency. Their were 4 artist teams with 4 artists on each team mostly comprised of 2 Visual Artists and 2 Performing Artists. The end goal being that each class, which each team had a 3rd,4th,&5th grade class of students to work with, would perform a play that they came up with( with some help refining ideas into a cohesive performance) for the entire school as well as their friends and family. Each year that this grant has been awarded the faculty choose a theme that they want the students to learn about or just call attention to: this years theme was “You and Me and Our Deep Sea Community”. We are after all in the Midwest and therefore not close to any oceanic bodies of water. This topic brought the very real and serious problems that our oceans and all that inhabit them are experiencing. A lot of the problems are drumroll please caused by, you guessed it humans! I learned new things from the kids as they were getting an in depth look at all of the pollution and other issues.
My contribution as a visual artist to this project was to do pour-painting with the kids and I also included their teachers. They had a great time with this activity and were amazed at how cool and unique each of their paintings were. I then came up with the idea to do costumes and masks as well as ocean inhabitant shapes in order to utilize their works of art. I felt that given that there were quite a few shy and nervous kids especially regarding the performance part that giving them costumes and masks would allow them to have a type of barrier between them and the audience as well as being able to fully embody the role that they were doing without reservations because they could fall back on,that wasn’t me that was my character.
I also designed the installation which is pictured above and directly below though my design was much more elaborate we only had so much time before the school closed and locked the doors so we only got to do what is pictured below. The white sheets shaped as a 🐠 were what was used for the shadow puppetry portions of our performances. It was extremely gratifying on the last day when someone else conducted a verbal survey with our kids, with an artist writing ✍️ down the answers and how many hands were raised when there were multiple options, to hear that the first 2 things when asked what they liked& what was fun were 1. Pour-painting and 2. Costumes and Masks!!
Below are the songs that the very talented Kat Perkins collaboratively came up with the students help. These songs are probably something that I will never forget as they were very catchy little ditties! The students sang these songs and did little dance movements as an entire grade together at the performance on the last day of the residency.
Lastly I made Kat Perkins some jewelry items and keychains as a thank you for all of the wonderful work that she does with kids! Pictured below are a few of the items that I made for her: