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Maranacook Community School Art Teacher Jeremy Smith’s Class Combines Bee Sculpture Project with a Trip to Colby Museum of Art – in the Words of Student Kaleigh Parks:

Trip to Colby
The field trip to the Colby Museum of Art was announced after we knew we were making a bee sculpture. Our guides helped us to view as many sculptures as we could. Discussing the meaning of the sculptures and the artists’ styles really helped us start thinking about what we wanted to say with our sculptures. After returning from Colby…. we worked in small groups and discussed the meaning of one of the sculptures, hypothesizing about why the artist made it, … how the principles of design worked together in the sculpture and whether we understood the sculpture’s message.

Creating our bee sculpture
We got to work on creating our individual bees to put on the sculpture. I filled out a paper with multiple designs of what my bee might look like. My finished sculpture ended up looking a bit different from the designs that I had originally drawn. After we finished making our bees, we collaboratively placed them upon the hive structures that were made using repurposed couch springs and some dowels.

The marshmallow challenge
We practiced the aspects of artistic teamwork and collaborative design by doing “the marshmallow challenge” in small groups. The marshmallow challenge is a collaborative task for teams of four created by a presenter from (see link below). Each team received 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. Our teams’ goal was to build the highest free-standing tower using these materials with the marshmallow on top. We had a time limit and it forced us to work together very quickly. Also, we had to listen to all the ideas about how to make the most effective and tallest tower.

When we were finished
Our teacher asked us to compare the similarities of bees working together in our ecosystem with the aspects of the ways our spaghetti towers lifted up the marshmallows. We wrote short reflections called journal entries to summarize our ideas about the marshmallow challenge.

Naming our work
The next step was to discuss the meaning of the sculpture we just made, and come up with a poem that would portray the meaning to an audience. We titled our sculpture and poem “Circle of Bees.” In order to name it and work on our poem, we had to learn to collaborate as a class and agree on an idea. We also worked to make sure everyone was heard.

Colony Collapse Disorder
While working on our designs, we had viewed a website made by Harvard University where students were designing ‘robobees’ to pollinate crops, in case the bee disease CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) worsened. Our bees were sculpted with aluminum and looked very similar to the ‘robobees.’

My teacher asked us to write about our class’s completed sculpture using haiku. I contributed to creating a word bank that was later used to create three haikus. These will be read by Maranacook Art students next March, during the Kennebec Valley Art Association’s opening at UMA’s Richmond Gallery for student art month. Our class’s bee sculptures will be on view there!

Here’s our Poem:
Circle of Bees

Flying, wings, colors
Death, loneliness, confusion
Flowers, honey, buzz

Wings fly to the sky
Pollen lifted by the bees
Lifted to the trees

Pollen makes honey
Bees make honey in hives
Honey is what we eat.

Additional links:
Marshmallow challenge
What’s killing the bees?


DIY Art Show at Waynflete School
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Judy Novey, Visual Arts Chair at Waynflete, describes the DIY show:
The D.I.Y. Show is an ever-changing collaboration where the viewers are both
makers and audience. Unlike a traditional exhibit where the work on view is the product
of prior creative process, this show is evolving cumulatively and unpredictably. Students
of all ages, faculty, staff, parents and visitors to the school are invited to participate.

The walls of the gallery are covered with three different surfaces: Chalkboard, Corkboard and Sheet Metal. The Chalkboard areas allow for various drawing activities. The Corkboard houses two collaborative collage activities and two post-it note collections. Finally, the Sheet Metal is home to magnetic poetry opportunities, Tangrams and Pattern Design magnets. On the floor you will find work tables with materials for collage and drawing, as well as a sewing activity and a loom for group weaving.

(Our apologies for misspelling Waynflete in the group email!)