April 11, 2017 – (Key West, FL). Kinetic Coaches in Schools program sparks STEAM concepts and social commentary through sculptural floats and Outsider Art
As the outrageously, creatively, wild and whimsical May 5 Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade draws closer, students from multiple Key West schools are now busily engaged in crafting human-powered moving sculptures through a ‘Kinetic Coaches in Schools’ program initiated last year by Key West Art & Historical Society. The kinetic float building projects actively engage the students in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) initiatives, as well as offer a unique opportunity to explore social commentary through art, a means of expression for which parade namesake Stanely Papio was well known.
Organized by Society Director of Education Adele Williams, and supported by generous grants and scholarships from Historic Tours of America and Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, local artists Suzanne Brown, Steve Linden, and Crystal Smith are working as Kinetic Coaches with student groups from Horace O’Bryant Middle School, May Sands Montessori Charter School, Sigsbee Charter School, Key West Preschool Co-Op, Key West Collegiate Academy, and Key West Homeschoolers. To initiate their projects, each group was invited to Fort East Martello, home of a collection of more than 100 original Stanley Papio metal sculptures, for “Stanley: The Man, The Legend,” a presentation by Williams that offered a first-hand look at the physical and social commentary elements found in the works of pioneering folk artist. The Kinetic Coaches followed Williams’ presentation with a “think tank” session to introduce students to the concept of “Outsider Art,” to help them explore their own views on social commentary, and learn key kinetic principals that they can apply to their kinetic sculpture floats.
“Our wheels are starting to turn and so far, the students feel the need to send a message to the community and across the country that they want guns out of schools,” says HOB Art teacher Ashlie Hood, whose two groups are working with Brown.“And we are focusing more on the recycled materials this year. I think that is important for the students to see what they can do with their “trash.””
The program’s Kinetic Coaches were selected based on their professional background and experience with children. Brown, a textile artist who studied metalsmithing and ceramics at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, has spent the last three decades with mixed media and three-dimensional art-building as her passion, habitually spurred by the discovery of a found object. She has taught classes in everything from sewing to 3D art and design. Linden, who got his bearings with a B.F.A. at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, exhibited during the SoHo heyday and is currently represented in the Ripley Museums and M.O.M.A. He has worked with kids in the school system for more than thirty years.Key West Preschool Co-Op art teacher and The Society’s Children’s Creative Program Designer Crystal Smithhas specialized in mixed mediums, including photography, theatrical makeup, recycled material art, and body painting for more than 15 years, and loves sharing her passion for art and the magic of creation with children.
The coaches receive a $600 stipend for their efforts, supported by a donation from Historic Tours of America, and the student groups each receive $400 scholarships from Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina. The program provides students countless opportunities to tap into STEAM concepts as access points for guiding inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.
“By engaging in artistic activities and study, children develop confidence in their abilities and learn how to innovate,” says Key West Preschool Co-Op VPK teacher Natalie Robinson.“The arts encourage risk-free exploration, and it is this freedom that builds confidence in our children.”
With the students’ problem solving, collaboration and creativity, their kinetic sculptures are full “steam” ahead. Witness their genius at the May 5 Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade, which kicks off from the Custom House Museum at 5:00pm and then join the post parade festival and concert at Truman Waterfront Amphitheater and see the floats lined up there for all to admire.
Presented by Key West Art & Historical Society and co-produced by Wonderdog Studios, for Parade registration, entry guidelines, sponsorship information and a complete event schedule, visit www.papiokineticparade.com. The Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida. Additional “Papio’s Pals” support provided by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, Helmerich Trust, Historic Tours of America, Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, Pirate Radio, The Peace Store, Jimmy Lane Real Estate Team, Premier Painting, All Keys Insulation, Camping Florida Keys, Sam Kaufman Law Firm, Papa’s Pilar, Shipyard Brewing Co, Islamorada Brewing Co and South Beach Brewing Co, Tiki House Key West, and Blu on White Vacation Rentals. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
HOB at FEM:
Between two towering Stanley Papio metal sculptures, back row left to right, Key West Art & Historical Society Director of Education Adele Williams, Horace O’Bryant Middle School teacher Katie Holtcamp, Kinetic Coach Suzanne Brown, and HOB teacher Ashlie Hood led a group of students in exploring the life and works of the late rebel folk artist at Fort East Martello last week.