Bringing Art from the Street to the Classroom

Art on the Street

What a fun idea I stumbled on recently.  My husband and I were at an art festival and were walking back to our car when we passed a long table that looked like it belonged in an adult size preschool room.  It was smeared with paint, dirty brushes, used markers, worn down colored pencils, and it just reeked of creativity.  But what caught our eye were three larger than life very colorful patchwork characters mounted on stark white boards and the tall man standing next to them.  Not being shy, I quickly learned the tall man’s name was Steve Prince and the patchwork characters were the collective work of people ranging in age from 2-year-olds to adults. 

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Steve said he created the artwork by drawing the outline of a person and cutting it out. Using the template he drew another outline.  He cut the image of the first drawing into pieces and traced each piece to the second drawing like a child’s puzzle so it could be reassembled.  So he would know where each piece belonged, he numbered the back of each puzzle piece with a corresponding number on the second drawing.  He colored the puzzle pieces that were the face and hands and let others color and decorate the rest using any form of medium they wanted.  Some pieces were painted, others used markers, and one even used leaves in paint!   Each piece was unique.  Once the pieces were finished Steve used Velcro to assemble them back together.  The result was magnificent!  A visual representation of a community working together.

Continuing on to the car the wheels in my head were turning with possible ways to use this community art technique in the classroom.  A project where everyone is successful because each piece is unique on its own but when assembled together is critical to the whole.  Thanks Steve for sharing your art and ideas.  I’m so glad I bumped into you on the street today!

Steve A. Prince is with One Fish Studio, LLC