Artists Working in Education
Press Release

Student sculpture garden combines science, art

A celebration and unveiling, with presentations from students and teachers, will take place on Thursday, May 28th, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. at Greenfield Bilingual School, 1711 S. 35th St.

By - May 15th, 2015 02:41 pm

Milwaukee, WI – What happens when art and science combine? Wildly hybrid public art! In a first-time collaboration between Artists Working in Education, Inc. (A.W.E.) and the Menomonee Valley Urban Ecology Center (UEC), students from Milwaukee Public Schools’ Greenfield Bilingual School have created a dragon sculpture garden for native plants. A celebration and unveiling, with presentations from students and teachers, will take place on Thursday, May 28th, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at Greenfield Bilingual School, 1711 S. 35th St.

Biologist Lainet Garcia-Rivera and neighborhood ceramic artist Janelle Gramling teamed up with third through fifth graders to re-imagine what a garden box can be. Even in the dead of winter, a giant mixed-media dragon, complete with ceramic scales, will breathe life into the school yard.

Glenna Holstein, UEC Menomonee Valley Branch manager, said, “Science and art often complement each other so beautifully, and it has been a delight to see them come together in a meaningful student-driven effort like this. For the UEC, this has been a wonderful opportunity to deepen a relationship with Greenfield Bilingual School…as well as nurture a very productive (and fun!) relationship with A.W.E.”

Garcia-Rivera and Gramling’s curriculum uses soil to establish a relationship between plants and ceramics. Students learned about types of gardens, growing conditions, soil and roots, soil and clay, minerals and crystals, working with clay, building clay slabs, carving clay and glazing. With the basics underhand, students choose and propagated plants, discovered traditional clay and ceramic uses and created ceramic tiles aka dragon scales for their sculpture.

Students worked collectively to make design decisions about their sculpture garden. They chose a dragon because it is the school’s mascot. A field trip to Lynden Sculpture Garden helped to inform their work. They also observed how ceramic is made and fired, as well as learned about being a working artist, on a visit to Gramling’s studio, located in the Clarke Square neighborhood.

This project would not be possible without the support of the Herzfeld Foundation and the Green Bay Packers Foundation.

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