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St. Malachi Center Summer Program at SPACES   08.11.14

My name is Michelle Epps and many of you know me as the Office Administrator here at SPACES, but recently I've been feeling more like a camp counselor. If you've been following us on Facebook you may have noticed we have had a lot of kid visitors this summer. In honor of our most recent project, TAG with Jason Eppink and Thu Tran, we've been doing crafts, having snacks, and discussing collaboration! Each week in the month of July the kids of St. Malachi Center would join us here at SPACES for a fun afternoon with a different craft and snack each week. The kids ranged in age from 7-11 and are a part of St. Malachi Center's 6-week summer camp which focuses on literacy and swimming skills. St. Malachi Center serves the most vulnerable residents of Cleveland's near West Side - the homeless, low-income families and their children, with a variety of programs.

In the tradition of teaching kids how to share, we wanted to stress the importance of collaboration and how it can be used in the creative process. On a personal level, one of the greatest joys of doing this program was sharing in the experiences of the kids and seeing the wonder and excitement in their eyes as we did each day's activities. One week I told the kids we were going to be feeding them dirt pudding and I was met with a mixture of skepticism and disgust with exclamations of "you can't make me eat that!" and "I just WON'T eat it!" And, even after most of the kids had gotten over their fears and started snacking, a few were still not sure and watched in anticipation as the rest of the kids had their first bites. Then, during the last week of our program I observed one of the kids admiring Michael Loderstedt Quarter Art piece, Aviary Station, which if you haven't seen it is a beautiful display of paper engineering. When I asked him what he thought of it he inquired as to who the artist was and when I told him he said, with a big smile on his face, "I want to be just like him when I get older!"

Like all good things though, this program came to an end, but not after a lot of good memories for myself and hopefully the kids to keep with them forever. As Pablo Picasso has been attributed with once saying, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

To see the kids creations during their time with us check out the slide show. For context, see below for our lesson plan from each week. For the safety of the children participating in this program we will not be publicizing pictures of the actual children.


July 2: Introduction to TAG- Talk about the meaning of the word "Collaboration" (this will be the basis of the four week program). Watch Thu and Jason's video and discuss what they saw in the video. Play a game of "Art Tag" (played like tag, but once you get tagged you add to a drawing) followed by snack time with "Campfire Free" S'mores (made with graham crackers, Marshmallow Fluff, and Nutella).

July 9: Finding a SPACE(S)- Create bugs/pendants out of wooden pieces. The kids will then search for a blank spot on the wall big enough for them to put their bug. The bugs will then be adhered to the wall. Snack time: "Collaborate" to make dirt pudding with gummy worms (made with oreo cookies, chocolate pudding, and cool whip).

July 16: Leave Behind- The kids will create pinwheels out of marbled paper to mount onto the wall. Each group will create a batch of marbled paper which they will leave to dry for the next group to turn into pinwheels (the first group will use pre-made marbled paper for their pinwheels). Snack time: "Collaborate" to make fruit salad on a stick (made with watermelon, grapes, strawberries, blueberries).

July 23: Fuzzball Aliens- Kids will create mini-aliens to take home to award them for how well they collaborated with each other. Snack time: After all that sharing and collaborating it's time to end the program with a purely selfish recipe; make your own taco salad...but you'll still have to share the Tortilla Chips!

FuzzBall June 23, 2014
FuzzBall June 23, 2014

Keywords: art, camp, collaboration, fun, kids, lesson, spaces, tag
Author: Michelle Epps, Community Engagement Manager
Category: General

SPACES ad inspires kids to make art!   08.04.14

SPACES Board Member Tom Starinsky recently sent us this drawing, made by his 2 year old daughter Matilda. It was inspired by an article about SPACES Executive Director Christina Vassallo (and Executive Dog Truman) in the Spring 2014 CAN Journal. We're pleased to have entered the artistic oeuvre of a talented 2 year old.


Author: Christina Vassallo, Executive Director
Category: General

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