A Gift to Our School

Before our 8th grade students departed, they worked together to create three large abstract sculptures to be displayed in our school’s Peace Garden, a central courtyard filled with native plants and flowers—and a hub for migrating monarch butterflies. Below, the director of the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, Ken Smith, who oversaw the project, describes the creation of this unique gift to our school.

There has been some unusual activity in the corner of the Peace Garden as the 8th Grade students are busy creating 3 concrete sculptures as a leaving gift for the school. I worked with the whole class to create a sequence of shapes that capture something of the experience of the last 8 years (less for some students and more for others if they began in Kindergarten) of learning and growing at MWS.

We began with trying to bring back memories of the 4th grade to recall key moments and strong memories and then to put these into sculptural shapes. The next class we moved back in time to find a shape for the earlier years. Then we worked to discover how to make one shape after the other in a sequence – something unfolding and developing in time. One of the challenges for the students was to work with nonfigurative shapes – pure form and gesture – which leaves the viewer free and will allow the sculptures to have many meanings and interpretations in the years to come.

Lastly the class was asked explore the present – coming to the end of their time at MWS.

Then a smaller group of students worked to bring the many ideas together into a sequence that could represent the experiences of the whole class.

These 3 shapes were then enlarged into wire armatures, set into position on concrete foundations and finished in cement.

It was a pleasure to work with the 8th Grade on this project and to be able to harvest their many years of artistic and sculpture work with Ms Deason. 

Ken Smith
Director
Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training

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