Tuesday, February 2, 2010

i love my school

my daughter and i walked into an amazing scene at the lawrence percolator on saturday: rooms full of children creating, scissors flying, crayons scribbling, paint splattering, glitter dumping, and walls dancing with colorful art. it was an all-day creative jam session in celebration of two of the oldest, most vibrant neighborhood schools in lawrence, kansas, which are now in danger of permanent closure due to district budget cuts. the art exhibit, which runs through this friday, is part of a major community-wide effort to encourage an alternate resolution of the fiscal dilemma and to prevent closure of the schools.

sending-out-an-SOS

percolator-3

percolator-1

save-ny-elementary

save-cordley

new-york-elementary-map

ride-bike

new-york

damage

do-not-cripple

percolator-2

why-because

i-love-my-school

if you're familiar with the fiery history of lawrence, you'll know that the people here have no problem going to bat for their liberties. in keeping with tradition, that is exactly what these children and parents are doing - defending their right to an education in their own neighborhood. i was awestruck by the pride and positive energy that came out of that building on saturday. it was the feisty, creative spirit that makes me love living here.

41 comments:

**WE BLOG ARTISTS** said...

It's amazing what people can bring together when they REALLY want something...
GREAT post...praying that the school stays on the map!
Char

Inner Toddler said...

That's why they call Berkeley the Lawrence of the West. I hope you keep your schools. This country has its priorities so ass backward.

Pixie Campbell said...

Aimee-What a beautiful story about the character of the kids and parents in these neighborhoods! I'm so dazzled by all I hear about Lawrence on your blog. I hope that moms, dads, teachers and children prevail. Viva NY and Cordley!

Carmen said...

I just love Lawrence. I look forward to visiting next time I'm back that way. These kids are amazing! I just love all their artsy goodness and the positive vibe their art creates.

joanne said...

these photos are so incredibly amazing (and have inspired me so much)... what heartfelt artwork adorning those walls!... and how incredibly awesome to feel the energy and passion of children infused with so much love and enthusiasm for their school!... that is one shining example of what a school can be!!!!

we could all learn a lot from these artists about our own priorities ...just what it is we are willing to go to bat for and support and give our time to with our own passions (and ingenuity)?

i think it would be really valuable for all of us to consider what it is we are closing ourselves off from (and closing the children off from) with school closures such as these... when a door closes on a child who has expressed this kind of passion for their school, what might we be closing off more deeply inside them? ... their hope? ... their feeling heard and valued? ... that their voice counts and yes they can make a difference?... their optimism? ... are we willing to close those things in them because we've given up on them in ourselves?

we're living in a world right now that needs all the enthusiasm and love and hope and optimism and beauty we can possibly muster up inside ourselves, and most certainly in our children...

i'm sending out my own hope and optimism and gratitude for the children of lawrence who shared with all of us their love and devotion and passion and creative fire... to all of them... yes, you really do make a difference...

Candied Fabrics said...

ALthough it's sad there's a need, how awesome is it that these kids are learning the power of grassroots. Here's hoping all there work isn't in vain!

Bella Sinclair said...

How rare it is to find a wonderful school that children love and that fosters such creativity and community. Here you have not one, but two such schools. Look at all these treasured masterpieces! Look at all the outpouring of hope and pride these little artists take in their schools. It says a lot about the schools and the teachers, as well as the parents who are united and proactive. You've shown us just how special Lawrence is, and much of it starts right there.

Hooray for NY and Cordley!

Christy said...

Thanks, Aimee, for capturing the emotion of the moment so well. E is truly positive about the whole thing, so I'm trying to follow her lead. :)

●• Thereza said...

how cool, and well captured. i hope they don't close it down in the end... that would be sad!

Kelly said...

awesome post aimee! the pictures of the children's artwork you shared are wonderful and really evoke the spirit on the mission! i think that not only it is important to fight to keep these neighborhood schools open, it's also important to keep art in the schools! you go girl! best of luck to you all. sending prayers your way!

hanna-happenings said...

Touching!
and I love how your eye works with Your camera.

peggyfussell said...

Building community is one of the most important gifts we can give to our children. As the parent of a teenager I can tell you that having a group of grown ups (dare I call it a village?) that care about your child is incredibly valuable. Neighborhood schools foster camaraderie among parents and that makes for good neighbors. Everyone benefits from that when your birdies start to fly.

Ok, now I'll climb off the old soapbox and get a closer look at that FABULOUS artwork!

e.beck.artist said...

i'm certain the art teacher is proud of the bright, happy, colorful artsy display .... like all good art, it tells the story ... speaks of the moment ... the viewer can completely tell it is heartfelt ..... very, very dear ....

but, just as important ... the social studies teachers should be proud that the kids they've been teaching are exercising their voices ..... and proud of the parents for teaching those kids to use their voices in such a powerful, peaceful manner ....

you can't look at this and not hope those dear artists get to keep their neighborhood schools!

Aris said...

Wow! The power of art! And what sincerity, energy and talent in all of the little fingers that made such a gloriuos display. How valuable for children to learn early how sacred community is and to covet and protect it. We create our communities as we create our pictures and we feel deep ownership because they belong to us, they are part of us. Well done little artists of Lawrence!

Shannon said...

so grateful for you for sharing this story with us. as you know, lawrence holds a special place in my heart. it's still the best place i've ever lived. the energy coming off these photos is the same energy that represents the spirit of lawrence...pride, authenticity, and genuine enthusiasm for what matters most in life. good for the kids and community of lawrence who are taking such a great creative to keeping the positivity going.

KEEP ART IN SCHOOL ALIVE, people. the kids get it. listen to them.

CRABCAKES said...

I missed the S.O.S. Saturday but stopped by on Sunday to see what the kids had done. Important message, amazing art and great people! That's what makes Lawrence go-'round.
I also just learned of a walk that's taking place this sat. in support of saving the schools! Keep on keepin' on, people!

jennifernew42@mac.com said...

Wow - it's amazing to read this at the same time that Iowa City, where I live - a city so like Lawrence, or so I'm told - is having si milar issues. We lost an older school last spring and the other "inner city" schools banded together to form Save Our Neighborhood Schools. The quote from the article you linked to could have been from our town: “I think saving our schools is important because of the fragility of these older neighborhoods,” says S.O.S. co-curator Paige Comparato, with two children at Cordley. “Without a common institution where these communities and families can gather and thrive, the neighborhoods will eventually deteriorate.”

Now the issue is re-districting, which gets to the really unspoken, ugly stuff - namely race and socio-economics. Closing schools may still very well be on our horizon, but right now it's how to balance some very out-of-whack numbers and it appears that keeping kids in their own neighborhoods is not the answer. VERY tender topics....

Good luck there in Lawrence. BEAUTIFUL art!

Miss you, Friend! ;-)

Lana said...

Love this display of the creative power of this community's heart! The kids are amazing the parents, the teachers, etc...Thanks to Lora and Kristin and everyone else, you make this community shine!

daisy janie said...

Well-placed passion, Aimee! I love that you're facilitating the positive, grass-roots effort to keep these schools open. It’s never too early for children to learn how expressing their opinions matters - glittery posters and all! It makes me sad to think of all the teachers and support staff who will be so adversely affected by the closure, in addition to the students and neigborhoods. I sure hope the community’s efforts lead (at least) to a forum with the school to discuss all options and possible solutions. Seems only fair...

jess said...

Thanks for showing all the love and support that we have for our schools! Great post!

Stacie @ azoho.com said...

Due to budget cuts they closed the oldest elem school in our city this year. Very sad. The kids & Teachers were crushed. So you guys keep it up! On a happier note & completely OT: I was at Carmen's house this weekend & she gave me a print of yours- the "Make Time for Your Art". I'm completely in love with it- You ROCK!!

Terri said...

oh, this tugs at my heart. my husband is the principal of our elementary school and it kills me, KILLS ME, to learn of the budgeting priorities they have to deal with. to shunt cash flow from creativity and learning to a new set of high school football jerseys or a shiny new athletic center . . .

of all things to fight for, i cannot believe that your community has to fight for a strong education for your kids. is it really that easy to lose sight of everything that matters? what is a communtiy without its future?

what an emotional story those kids have told with their art. thanks for sharing.

leslie said...

Thanks for posting this! The organizers—Lora, Kristen, & Paige, KT & Dave, and tons of others—really lifted my spirits Saturday.

Your photos are wonderful, Aimee.

Jill said...

Aimee it is so fascinating to get this glimpse into your community's life. Here it is village schools that are closing with falling rolls they are too expensive even though they are the heart of the local community.
Let's hope their art is heartfelt by those who make the decisions.

Annie Pazoo said...

aaaaaah. this makes me want to CRY.

suzanne cabrera said...

Wowee...advocacy through art at such a young age. It's untelling what they will be capable of as adults. SOOOO inspiring!

cindy said...

it's fantastic to include the kids and i'd say they're a 'secret' weapon. the artwork is wonderful and powerful. i hope you all will be successful.

painted fish studio said...

i love your school, too! the creativity all around is inspiring, and those brilliant little minds need an outlet. i'm rooting for the schools!

rachel awes said...

i love the painted people & good ol' 45! extending hope to this beautiful place!

Susan said...

I'm so pleased you feel like the visitlawrence link is good enough to share. Thanks!

Sharon said...

I love all the art work you've shown here and the spirit it shows. Good luck on your fight to save your schools. Please keep us updated.

GRACIA AND LOUISE said...

I'd love to sit and play at one of those tables, splattering paint with the best of 'em.

Esti said...

I love this post. I wish people took art as a powerful weapon in other occasions.

AmandaMay said...

This is fantastic! The community, I mean, not the ridiculous idea that closing a school is going to help anything at all. The local school in our neighborhood was just saved by the persistence and energy of the parents and community, it is now a magnet school for sustainability (not entirely sure what that means, but getting the magnet school status helped the situation a lot). Good luck!

aimee said...

thank you everyone for such heartwarming and supportive comments! i will keep you updated!

jane said...

this is such a wonderful idea. the children´s art work is fantastic. keep up the artistic fight. there is so much talent and enthusiasm. how can anyone cut that short? good luck. and keep us posted!

L'Atelier said...

truy inspiring and amazing!!!

Lori said...

WOW makes me kind of want to be an elementary school teacher again! Great story.

jess gonacha swift said...

Very cool. I want to live in a community like that. I hope the school gets to stay-- that would be such a shame if it shut down due to lack of funds. :( What a fun and inspiring way for the community to show how much they care!!

heather smith jones said...

I love how that exhibit is giving children a voice and power in a situation that affects them most. Did you know there is a link to this post via http://www.saveourneighborhoodschools.com/i-love-my-school/ ?

Coreopsis said...

Wow--I had no idea this all was happening....Us high school teachers have been TALKING about it non-stop, but I guess I've been kindof isolated from the elementary-age energy...This is really really incredible.