The students are placing the finishing touches on their projects in preparation for the FMHS Academic Showcase this Thursday, April 21.  The Art 1 and Middle School students’ memory boxes will be displayed in the art room from 4-7 p.m.

The sculpture will obviously be on view due to it’s public nature, however we will have a dedication ceremony at 6 p.m.  There will be a few speakers, including Melanie and I who will explain the grant and the steps we worked through with the students.  We will also highlight the ideas behind the students’ design.  There will be a display inside the school that will include some of the steps they took as well as some aerial views of Silent Witness: A Sculpture Garden.

After the dedication ceremony,the artist, students, and I will be available for questions.  We will also, at that time, request the community to interact with the sculpture on a more personal level.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

If you want a preview of the ideas the students considered when creating the sculpture design, check out the State Journal article here.


Friday was the official last day of the residency.  So sad.  The kids kept asking, “So… Melanie isn’t going to be here any more?”  I suppose that is a good sign that they enjoyed their projects and working with her.

The Art 1 classes are almost finished with their boxes.  There were a few students who really need another class period to work on them, so we will finish them up on Monday.  The Art 2 and 3 classes spent some time inside discussing the official title and the short paragraph of text that will go on the plaque donated by Curtiss Trophy (as mentioned in a previous post).

They decided on Silent Witness: A Memorial Sculpture Garden.  As they were discussing possible titles at the beginning of the week, the groups of students kept coming back to the idea that the trees stood in the front yard for many, many years.  They witnessed thousands of students and events as they grew.  One student even posed the question, “If the trees could talk, what would they say?” The students felt that the title encompassed the many concepts they had for the sculpture – the circle of life  (things grow, die, then decay and feed new plants as they grow), while also emphasizing the importance of the trees and their own history.  The students spent the remainder of their class time working on sketching out final designs for painting and removing the bark – something they will finish next week.

Sketching out a plan.
Removing the bark in a pattern.
Chiseling away.

I couldn’t resist the rhyme.  Sorry.

As you may have guessed from the title, we had a concrete truck arrive (3 minutes early!!) this morning to help us permanently afix the logs in the ground so that they don’t fall subject to unintended movement.  We also had a local business, Harrod Concrete and Stone, offer to donate the concrete to us.  We are extremely thankful for the materials and the personnel time that was given in support to our project!!

As soon as class started we scrambled to ready the holes that Inside Out Design dug for us.  We had to scrape away the excess dirt from the edge of each hole so that the surface was even, as well as hand scoop out any loose dirt in the bottom.  Just as we were finishing up the holes the concrete truck arrived – right on time.

All of the students had the opportunity to take a wheelbarrow to the chute and watch the concrete pour in.  Then they worked in teams to fill each hole with concrete and drop the logs on top of each hole – being sure that the lag bolt was close to the center.  Everything worked out perfectly.  We didn’t have anyone lose an ankle to one of the 30+ holes in the ground, no one crushed their toes with a log, and we finished cleaning up just in time to go inside for lunch.  Oh – and the sun was shining.  It was a perfect work day.  I hope you enjoy the many pictures below – it was a pretty exciting day.

Also – please keep scrolling down to stay informed on how the Middle School and Art 1 classes are doing with their memory boxes.

Watching the concrete flow down the chute.

Shoveling concrete into one of the many holes.

Dumping concrete.

Getting ready to place a log in its permanent home.

Group shot!

Getting the last bit of concrete out of the wheelbarrow.

FHS vs. log. We won.

Cleaning the chute.

Our friendly driver from Harrods.

Thank you for continuing to scrolle down – it was a busy day.  The middle school and Art 1 classes continued to work on their boxes – trying to capture the story of who they are.  Most of them were pretty intense workers today.  There were times the classroom was even fairly quiet because they were all concentrating on their own projects.  Please enjoy some of the intense faces below.

Classroom view of most of the students working.

Another view of the classroom.

Students will sit anywhere if they need an outlet for a glue gun.

Working on their boxes.

This student was carefully placing lettering on the top of his box to commemorate his family.

Have you ever seen such concentration from a middle school student in the afternoon?

Thank you for sticking with this entry until the end.  I know it was long.  Tomorrow is the last day of the residency… but we will have some exciting news to tell you – so please come back!

Today was Wednesday and everything is finally starting to fall into place.  I’ll confess,  Melanie and I were a little (ok – a lot) worried that  all the rain on Monday and Tuesday would  hinder us from finishing the sculpture before the residency is over on Friday.  However, today was sunny and beautiful.  The students were excited and we got a lot done.

Our tool situation caused us to divide and conquer a variety of tasks.  Some students drilled pilot holes into the smaller logs while others used ratchets to secure lag bolts.  The remaining students in the class were able to continue selectively removing pieces of bark from the logs.  Right now, the students are considering incorporating color stains and text into the smooth spots as a way for the students and community to interact with the sculpture.  We had a lot of fun and the students really worked hard to create their vision.

Securing the lag bolts.

Laughing and chiseling.

Taking some bark off and securing lag bolts.

Chiseling an intricate design - I cant wait to see what they do with it!

Sanding the area where the bark has been removed.

Straightening out a place where the deer removed some bark this winter.

And other exciting news… I remembered to take pictures of the students working on their memory boxes today.  There is a lot going on – some students are gluing, others are cutting, some are building drawers/shelves, while others are painting.  I’ll confess – the art room looks like a tornado went through it (and that’s after I cleaned), but their creative minds are blowing me away.  They are arranging their objects in all kinds of cool ways.  I can’t wait to see their finished products and hear them talk about their ideas at the end of the week.

Avid painters - look at all the items in the front box!

More painting.

Students working diligently on their creations.

Painting the inside of his box with another classes projects right behind.

Working with great intensity.

Drilling in the wind.

Inserting lag bolts into the smaller logs.

Notice the puddle....

We are very thankful that everyone has stopped doing the rain dance, it has really hindered our progress.  Tuesday we were forced to remain indoors most of our Art 2 and Art 3 classtime due to the downpour.  We took the opportunity to discuss possible titles for our sculpture as well as what else we may want to include on our plaque, which Curtiss Trophy & Engraving has offered to donate to us.  They are located off of Louisville Road behind Casa Fiesta.  Check them out and thank them for their support of our project.

We were able to start drilling and inserting lag bolts into the logs for about 20 minutes this morning, which was nice. However, the front lawn was quite a mud pit at that point.

The Art 1 and Middle School classes worked on their “What’s my Story?” boxes yesterday.  I was so excited to see what they were working on that I completely forgot to take pictures  – I will try on Wednesday to make up for it.  It was amazing how quickly students started cutting, painting, and gluing objects into a box to tell the world about themselves through sculpture.

Using a chisel to take some bark off the larger logs.

Today was our first day back after an almost three week spring break.  The students in my first period Art 1 class were a little slow to start – but soon began crafting their shoe boxes into a reflection of themselves, their family history, and their experiences at FHS.  Many of them started covering their boxes with the rubbings they made outside before spring break.  I think they are going to be awesome and can’t wait for the other students to get started tomorrow – hopefully they will remember to bring in their materials!

The Art 2 and Art 3 classes jumped right into shaping their sculpture.  Melanie finished moving the logs back to the school’s property on Sunday and the students quickly placed them next to their homes during class today.  One of the awesome things that happened over break is that Inside Out Design agreed to use their augers to help us start the holes we need to dig for the sculpture.   This means that the students will be able to concentrate more on anchoring the logs in the ground and finishing the sculpture (sanding, chiseling, etc) instead of worrying about being able to dig 30+ holes!  We are soooo thankful for this donation.  The students also began working on chiseling off pieces of the bark to expose areas of wood on the larger logs.  However,  it started pouring rain… so we had to run inside.  We took the few moments of entrapment to discuss what we may want to title the sculpture and how we want to invite the community to interact with it.

Since the skies were unpredictable today, I choose to not take the camera outside.  I will post pictures tomorrow of what the students have accomplished and what they work on tomorrow.

Over spring break Melanie worked to bring over the logs and then we re-painted the spots for the smaller logs.  We also taped off the area so that no one will walk over our fresh paint now.  Also, we will start digging on Monday (hopefully if it’s not storming during class – we’re keeping our fingers crossed!).  We don’t want anyone to sprain an ankle from walking into a hole – so hopefully the orange tape will stop people from walking on that part of the lawn during our construction phase.

Here are some pictures of the yard with just the large logs in place (they have to be moved by machine – so they are already in their homes).

Here is a view of the area from above.

Quarantined Area

Freshly painted placement circles.

We are participating in a two week grant where the weeks are  separated by the district’s spring break.  There were a variety of reasons for the split, however the most important information is that we won’t be back until April 11.

If you fear you will forget about us after three weeks, please subscribe to the blog (it’s in the upper left corner).  Then you can receive e-mail updates every time a new post is added.

Thank you for reading and I hope you will keep up with our various projects when we get back!

Today was a big day at FMHS – we had a ground breaking ceremony for a garden that is going to be behind the school.  It turned out that they could use all of the leaves and sawdust that have been hanging out in piles on the front lawn in the school’s new compost bins.  The Art 2 and Art 3 students needed to begin to ready the lawn for the sculpture building that will happen after spring break – so we began hauling all the compostable materials to the garden area.  It was a great way for different groups of students in the school to benefit one another.

Students gathering the leaves.

Placing bags of leaves into the wheelbarrow.

Getting a texture rubbing of the tree rings.

Today the uninhibited sun beckoned us outdoors once more.  The first period Art 1 class participated in the same lesson that the middle school classes and the afternoon art 1 class completed yesterday.  The students ran around to make rubbings of different parts of the school, including the tree stumps, bricks, and the Frankfort High sign.  It was amazing to watch them not only prepare  to make art using the rubbings for their memory boxes, but also create works of art on their papers by combining textures and different colored crayons.  Melanie and I thought that perhaps a few of the papers should just be hung on the bulletin board as artwork because they were so beautiful.

More texture rubbings from the old stumps.

The Art 2 and Art 3 classes needed to complete their final plans today so that Melanie and I would know what materials need to be purchased over spring break.  We started the first class on a scaled drawing of the front lawn – which proved to be a larger task than anyone had expected.  At one point we were even counting diagonally and using the quadratic formula to ensure what the students had drawn on the graph paper was an accurate reflection of real life.  One student exclaimed, “I never expected to do so much math in art class!”  We went back to the art room briefly to draw out the students’ sculpture design on the graph paper… and then we were back out in the sun mapping the tentative location of the logs on the grass with marking paint.

Working on the scale drawing for the sculpture.

Measuring some of the permanent fixtures on the lawn.

Part of the sculpture marked out on the front lawn.

I ran out of time today during class when trying to take pictures of the sculpture mapped out on the front lawn.  I tried again after school, but students were playing a game and I wasn’t willing to risk my personal safety to get the pictures.  They will be posted tomorrow along with some other pictures to highlight student work and remind the viewers of what we have accomplished in just a few days.

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The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports this artist residency with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.