The Magical Tree Project
I am looking forward to working with students at Hampshire College in Massachusetts in October. As a visiting artist, I will work with students to draw and paint local plants and animals as part of the Sustainability course which is co-taught by professors in the sciences, and an artist. The focal point of our final product, a large collaborative painting, destined, I hope, for a new campus building, will be a tree on campus known as the “Hampshire Tree.” In our painting the tree will be surrounded by the flora and fauna of the area, including the animals of the Hampshire College farm.
The visual inspiration for this project is one I did as a Creative Care visual artist in collaboration with Creative Care dancer/choreographer Paula Kramer, at All Childrens’ Hospital in St Petersburg. It was entitled The Magic Tree. Participants, who were parents and siblings of patients, were led by Paula in dance moves to establish the theme. Through movement Paula evoked the sun, the rain, a rainbow, gentle breezes, birds, bees and butterflies; also the growth of a tree from tiny seed to a full grown fruit tree with branches and leaves supporting a variety of animals and insects.
Then the participants, ranging in age from one year old to seventy-something, joined me to finger-paint a large painting with all the elements they had just danced into being. The Magic Tree was displayed in the spring in the window of the Family Resources Center at All Children’s Hospital.