A fellow colleague, Doug Lowe, shared this idea. He gives out a handout
saying the town of "Podunk" is looking for a sculpture for the city square
similar to the Calder in Grand Rapids (--I'm in Michigan). The image of the
sculpture will also be used as a logo for the city (in GR they are on
street signs, garbage trucks, stationery...) and for the annual "dunkers"
Unlike GR, Podunk does not have hundreds of thousands to spend on a
sculpture BUT they do have two 4' x8' sheets of plywood, leftover from
renovation of the city hall, to use in the construction of the work. The
city has sponsored a competition and would like artists to submit
macquettes for consideration
(Then you hand out two 4"x8" pieces of mat board and explain that the
students must "glue-weld them together with Elmers. They may paint or
finish the final piece as they wish. After constructing, they work on the
In a final critique, we all pretend we are city council members viewing the
macquettes. I make a six inch (foot) tall person to stand next to the
works to get a sense of scale (and to see if the work would poke out any
eyeballs of passers-by).
The initial handout detailing the assignment is very over-the-top. Some of
my students actually think Podunk is a place. Have fun with it.