Students at Patrick Hamilton and Kincheloe elementary schools were given various recycled and natural materials to construct a series of sculptures. Among those on display were a badger made with pinecones at Kincheloe, made by fifth-grade student, Kyle Rupert. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
Students at Patrick Hamilton and Kincheloe elementary schools were given various recycled and natural materials to construct a series of sculptures. Among those on display were a badger made with pinecones at Kincheloe, made by fifth-grade student, Kyle Rupert. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Archived Story

Patrick Hamilton, Kincheloe students create sculptures in time for Dogwood

Published 8:00am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Art Walk won’t be the only public art exhibition around for this year’s Dogwood Fine Arts Festival.

Last week, students at Patrick Hamilton and Kincheloe put the finishing touches on their own collection of sculptures and models for display around their schoolyards. The twin-exhibits, entitled the “Funky Junk Sculpture Garden,” will run through the duration of the festival, which ends on May 18.

Ashley Hamlet, the art teacher at the two elementary schools, came up with the idea of having her students build their own art displays, during a time when awareness of public beauty is at its height in Dowagiac.

“The main inspiration behind the project is to let the students interact with the community and to inspire the community,” Hamlet said. “I wanted them to get a chance to make a positive impact at an early age.”

While the students were encouraged to use their imagination and resourcefulness in crafting their hand-made creations, each grade was given a particular set of materials to use.

“The materials are a hodge-podge of things that people don’t need, but can make for some pretty cool art,” she said.

For example, Hamlet’s kindergarteners were given the task of creating flowers using recycled plates and plastic bottles, while her third-graders made animals using old milk cartons.

“The fifth-graders were more self-directed,” Hamlet said. “They could choose to create something with a message provoking deep thought, or they do something about how design and beauty can inspire others. They could also choose a fun or humorous subject to spice up
someone’s day.”

Hamlet will be placing the completed sculptures throughout the two schoolyards throughout the week, in part to help protect them from the forecasted thunderstorms.

“I’m kind of sparing the kid’s work a bit, but they will be slowly coming out over the festival,” she said.

The students have enjoyed both the aspect of creating and exhibiting their individual crafts, Hamlet said.

“Part of their project has been learning to be resourceful, and occasionally having things fail,” the teacher said. “It’s been a good learning experience for them.”

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