Friday, July 4, 2008

And The Band Plays On - Newsarticle

The University of Western Ontario: On Line Reporter
March 21, 2007 by Laura Hendrick

Kids Find Out About Good Vibrations
the condensed version

When the vice-principal of Matthews Hall Private School asked Jim Kogelheide to paint with her Grade 3’s, she hoped his creativity could withstand a pack of kids. A few weeks later, as the chatter of young artists drifted into her office, she realized that the environmentally friendly painter had opened more minds than any textbook could. “I could hear them discussing issues like the energy cycle,” Janet Frame said, noting that the children did a fair bit of talking as they painted. “Jim went beyond any ecology lesson by talking about the Earth in terms of giving and receiving, not ‘the world is dying.’”

Frame took an interest in Kogelheide when reading an article about his travels across Canada. She learned that for more than a decade, he had been teaching students from St. Thomas to Nunavut about the value of the environment, all the while using art as a hands-on tool. “It’s almost like a master artist working with apprentices,” said Frame.

The theme of the art project was Good Vibrations and Frame said she wasn’t sure Kogelheide would be able to incorporate his signature environmental message. But for him, the link was obvious. “I started by asking them about the largest vibration in our solar system: the sun,” said Kogelheide. “I told them all the good vibrations on Earth come from the sun, and we get most of our energy from eating plants that grow under its rays.” The class agreed that energy should lead to movement, and in some cases to the creation of another good vibration: music. The idea for “And The Band Plays On” was born.

The positive reaction of the kids prompted Frame to plan the school’s first environmental art program in the fall, taught by none other than Kogelheide. It has been a major breakthrough for an artist who has spent hundreds of dollars in the past, voluntarily running similar programs in places like the Central Public Library in the Galleria Mall.

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