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Arts & the Environment projects

A Sampling of Arts & Environment/Nature Projects with NH teaching artists
funded in part by grants from The NH State Council on the Arts
www.nh.gov/nharts  


Antrim Elementary School, Antrim, NH
The school’s enrichment coordinator wrote a grant with a three year arts plan. In year one, students worked with architect/designer Laura Campbell to research and design a handicapped accessible walkway to the wetlands behind their school. This walkway would be open to everyone in the community. In year two, students worked with sculptor, Emile Birch and parents, plus volunteers, to build the walkway and design a Gateway to the wetlands with students’ own natural designs. In year three, the school brought theatre artists, Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers from Pontine Theatre to work with students, create an original play about the wetlands eco-systems.  The school received funds ($3,500 to $5,000) for three years in a row of projects from NH State Council on the Arts, Artist Residency in School grants.   

John Stark Regional High School, Weare, NH
Over five years of artist residencies, high school students worked with artists to create a nature trail through some wild land behind their school.  Sculptor Emile Birch helped students create a metal “Gateway” to the trail; poet Mimi White and weaver Sarah Haskell helped students weave their thoughts, poems and prayers in honor of students who had died in the Iraq war.  This long term project was coordinated by Suzanne Canali, the schools Art Educator, and funded over five year’s time, with support from New Hampshire State Council on the Arts’ Artist Residency in Schools grants. (Grants were $3,500 to $4,500)

Lincoln Street School, Exeter NH
Created a 5th grade book of Poetry and Photography about their school’s nature trail.  They worked with poet, Rick Agran and their school art teacher, Deb Wheeler Bean.   The project was funded by the school’s PTO, an AIR grant from the NH State Council on the Arts (NHSCA), school funds and other donations.  Every fifth grader contributed a photograph and poem to the book, and had his/her own page.  Later each student received a book.  Posters were framed and matted with students’ work, and hung outside each fifth grade classroom. (Grant was for $1,500).

Broken Ground Elementary School, Concord, NH
Students, parents and teachers worked with sculptor, Emile Birch to create a creative garden and play area, with an outdoor theatre.  The AIR project was funded by the school PTO, community donations and a NHSCA grant.

Holderness Central School, Holderness, NH
Every third year, the school brings 5 teaching artists from a variety of disciplines (theatre, sculpture, music, writing/literature, set design/tech) to work with students in the middle school for 2-3 weeks to write, design, create, and present a multi-media theatrical event.  The usual curriculum is suspended during the 2-3 week period.  In 2008 their theme related to “water” and students researched issues with a focus on Squam Lake, and also broader concerns about water in our state and world.  The school received funding support for this project ($4,500) from the NHSCA AIR grant program. They also receive support from their PTO, plus a line item specifically for the grant’s cash match, in their school budget.

Hollis Elementary and Primary Schools, Hollis, NH
In the academic 2008-2009 school year, elementary students were introduced to architectural landscape design with artist, Laura Campbell (10 days) for the purpose of creating a plan for an environmental garden and outdoor classroom.  Students used this knowledge to choose appropriate plants and determine other needed materials; determine actual garden location on the school’s property; create a small-scale version of the garden; and layout the garden area, as part of implementing the project design.   During academic year, 2009-2010, students worked with artist, Emile Birch (20 days) using knowledge gained in art classes and from studying with Emile to: design garden landmarks; fabricate garden landmarks and install garden landmarks.  In their third year, FY 2011, they brought musician and African style percussionist, Steve Ferraris to experience creative rhythms, polyphonic music, and gain new cultural insights. The 10 day artist residency culminated in a festive celebration of the earth and students’ connections to the land. All three projects were funded in part by grants from the NHSCA.  

Surry Village Charter School, Surry, NH
This school has a mission that includes basing curriculum in community and local culture.  The school is a state-wide open enrollment public school. Students come from 12-15 towns in the Monadnock Region.  They wrote a grant project to bring traditional basket maker and teaching artist, Alice Ogden to their school.  Students applied traditional black ash weaving techniques to make tree stars, wooden panels, and baskets. They learned about the importance of the arts in creating functional and beautiful items out of natural materials for home use in the 1800s.  They invested the shape and materials of many baskets that Alice brought with her, to determine their function as revealed by their design.  Students even had the opportunity to split saplings to make basket strips, using traditional tools and staging.  Throughout they evaluated their own and others’ work, making suggestions, collaborating and asking for help. This FY 2011 project was funded with an AIR grant and community contributions.  

The UNH Cooperative Extension Service’s 4-H Green Thumb Team, Massabesic Audubon Center, Auburn, NH
This project (FY12) recently received a second grant ($3,460) from the General Project Grants category to continue developing their Cultivating the Arts, further expanding the 4-H Green Thumb Team garden program for youth. The project introduced new quilt square patterns, and aims to create new models for the arts in garden programs, that bridges art with the science of gardening.  The program serves over 2,600 inner city/at risk youth. During their FY11 (Youth Arts Project) grant, they worked with teaching artist/landscape designer, Laura Campbell. For their FY 12 project, they will be working with NH-AIE Roster Artist and Eco-Artist, Cynthia Robinson.  

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