Friday, April 6, 2012

Art for Water in Marlboro, VT

by Will Broussard

On Tuesday, April 3rd, Christine and I traveled to Marlboro, Vermont to work with students and teachers at Marlboro Elementary School (MES). We introduced Art for Water in a morning meeting with the entire school, held 5 consecutive workshops for combined classes, and finished the day by installing Stream of Conscience in the front lobby. The morning meeting and workshops that followed reminded me a lot of our time in Idaho; bringing me back to those moments when the children became place-based educators and I was the naive pupil. This was our first workshop since returning from the west, so it was a real treat to hear what local New England students had to say about water. MES has students ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade, so our workshops also served as crash courses in early childhood development and adaptive teaching styles. That being said, all students were truly bright, engaging and eager to take part in Stream of Conscience. Their teachers and administrators were very interested and supportive of our work, and we even had after-school visitors comment on the installation as we added the finishing touches.

Art for Water's visit to MES coincided with numerous classroom art and writing projects focused on water. The junior high students used it as an opportunity to debate the effectiveness of using art for advocacy in social change. Reflecting on Christine's morning talk, one student wrote "When so many people care about something it creates talk and talk leads to debate" and continued, "when people see the art and they know the public helped make it, they might think the cause is more important." Another student wrote that "this project also made me realize how unfair life could be, and how many people didn't and don't know how few people have access to clean and sanitary water. I now feel inspired to spread this information to the best of my ability." Art for Water is pleased to instill a sense of empathy and public service in the minds of our future leaders.

Tuesday's series of workshops would not have been possible without Carol Berner, Coordinator for River of Words in the Connecticut River Watershed, who invited us to MES. We hope to work with her on future public art projects in southern Vermont and beyond. Many thanks to the supportive teachers and administrators at MES who were all so helpful and happy to be part of this project, the most recent incarnation of Stream of Conscience. A final thank you to the students themselves, for making this day so thought provoking and special.

5 comments:

  1. A great exhibit! Thank you.
    As parents, we were invited to add our own strip at the Learning Fair.

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  2. This is a wonderful project and I hope the learning from it ripples (pardon the pun) farther than we can ever imagine. Merging science with art was a particular passion of mine as I taught young Marlboro students on the topic of water for many years. Happy to see the connection still going strong. Jodi

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