Saturday, May 16, 2009

London’s International Children’s Art Festival – 2008: Cont’d

For my special art project for the festival, I had decided to create another community involved painting. I wanted to have lots and lots of kids help me with a painting so I had to have a large canvas… I decided to use a bathroom door. These doors, that I sometimes paint on, are great – the finished product doesn’t need to be framed, just hung by the two hangers at the back, the door offers stability and structure that you can’t get in a regular canvas that size.

Keeping in fashion with this year’s ‘World Environment’ theme, I had decided to design a unique “Earth, Moon and Sun” painting, with lots of bright colours.

Some of the children that came out to help with this painting were very young. That is why I had designed most of the painting to be straight lines, radiating out from the center of the sun. The brush strokes were very simple to apply and this really made the children feel happy about the work they did.

At some points, the tent was overflowing with children and their parents or schoolteachers and this was a little overwhelming. I’m really glad that I had a few volunteers helping me to keep the paints and children organized.

It may be hard to believe, but this painting was finished in less than six hours. This was the largest canvas that I had ever completed in such a short period of time. After all the paints were cleaned up, the volunteers and I sat down for a short but well deserved break.

Before, a child was allowed to paint, we had them fill out a very simple form. We asked for their name, age, the school that they were from and we asked them to write down what their favourite thing in the whole wide world is. At the end of the day, we put all these forms into a container and a volunteer randomly selected one of the forms. I knew that the finished painting would have to go somewhere and this is how we selected where. A name was selected and the school that that child was from was the winner of the painting. The winning school was Kensal Park, here in London, Ontario.

The next week, I made a surprise visit to this school. The principal was extremely pleased to hear this unexpected good news. She told me many stories about how creative her students are and she showed me many of their art creations. We had made arrangements for me to return to the school the following week so I could help their maintenance workers install the painting above the doors leading to the school’s library. When I returned I was pleased to learn that the painted door had already been installed.

The principal called one of the teachers and several students to the office – who had helped to complete this painting and we had a group photo to showcase our achievement.

Events such as this really warm my heart. This was a great experience to be a part of and now this art will be enjoyed by so many young students for many years to come. The value of an artwork such as this can never be defined by the costs of supplies, or the time needed to create it. This art peace will continue to create new sets of value as it inspires growing, loving minds.


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