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[teacherartexchange] "Public Art" Lesson for Plaster Sculpture


Date: Tue May 24 2005 - 14:15:02 PDT

In response to the question about the plaster sculpture lesson - - -
   My grade 8 students are doing a non objective, subtractive sculpture for
a specific place. They will use plaster blocks made by pouring plaster into
lunchroom sized milk cartons. I start the lesson by presenting the kids with
50 or so laminated magazine photos of "public places." We talk about public
art and look at a power point presentation of some of the public art
sculpture in our city. We identify sculpture that enhances the environment and some
that does not. A commissioned sculpture in front of our Central Library has
caused much controversy. We talk about the pros and cons of this work of
art. We talk about material used for sculpture indoors and out. We talk about
what it means when a work of art is commissioned.
   Each student selects a laminated photo of a special place for which
he/she will design a maquette for a non objective, "site specific" sculpture.
Students are encouraged to begin by eliminating the boxy "milk carton look" of
their form. They may choose to use the electric drill, with a large bit, to
drill one hole, after putting much thought into where it should go. We use a
variety off kitchen tools for carving, but the favorite is a tool I made
using the metal straps used to bind bundles of lumber. I cut a diagonal end and
wrapped the handle with duct tape.
   Completed sculpture will be displayed with the photo of the special place
for which it was designed. We usually have terrific critiques of these

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