This spring, York House School (YHS) Grade 2 students collaborated with the Arbutus Greenway and Vancouver Biennale Big IDEAS education program to create their own public art installation. Students chose to reimagine a section of the Arbutus Corridor to serve the needs and wants of the local community. A STEAM project of their own, the students visited the site, interviewed community members, and learned about the natural environment. To bring awareness to this space and community, the students collaborated with Biennale artist, Toni Latour. The students learned about public art, its role in creating community, and visited several of the Vancouver Biennale’s large scale public art installations across Metro Vancouver.
While visiting the Arbutus Corridor, students were inspired by the word happy stenciled in bright yellow on the asphalt. Students began to talk about how the bright colour and positive message made them feel. To add more colour to the corridor, students painted over 700 rocks in a spectrum of colours. On the rocks, students wrote positive messages encouraging community members to “smile,” “count the trees”, and “think about what this space could be.”
On June 9th the students installed the painted rocks on the Arbutus Greenway to inspire community engagement and awareness on the Arbutus Corridor on each side of the asphalt between Nanton Road and Quilchena Park. The project culminated in an exhibit where the teams of students were able to show the displays they created which explored other creative ideas for the Arbutus Corridor including a cycle through coffee shop, a lending library, a dog park, and a mural that would hide the view of the power station in the background. Parents, staff, teachers, and members of the Biennale and the City of Vancouver attended and were equally impressed with the creativity and thoughtfulness of the girls. You never know, you might even see the City adopt some of their ideas!
For more information please visit www.vancouverbiennale.com.