Residency at Montessori 31
Through a 2011
grant from Arts Westchester, with funds from the Local Capacity Building Program
of the New York State Council on the Arts, thirty highly responsive special
students and dedicated staff energetically assisted in the construction of a
assemblage of recyclables, constructed in the form of a jellyfish. I am grateful
to the participants from Montessori 31, and the granting organizations for this
uplifting, shared experience.
Installed in the
school staircase and boasting eighteen foot tentacles, four giant "Jellottle-Bottelyfish", underscore our need to transform our waste
creatively, and to do what we personally can through recycling.
for my artist residency, 200 6th graders collected thousands of water bottles. I
developed an advance prototype later influenced by student sketches and teacher
Through my presentations, students learned about the impact on our natural
resources caused by pollution, global warming and over-fishing of predators.
Based on my advance model and using the collected bottles and other materials
presenting environmental concern, I supervised four teams of students in
constructing the four giant jellyfish assemblage works.
The resulting visual spectacle reflects the creative energy and an
exceptional collaboration with students and highly supportive staff. It was a
great joy for me to have the opportunity to work with the Mineola Middle School.
My artist residency was supported through arrangement with Supervisor of Fine
Arts for the Mineola Union Free School District, and contracted through Nassau
County New York, BOCES Arts in Education division.
- Jeffrey Schrier, 2010
NELSON MANDELA HIGH
This ten foot wide blue crab form was constructed with students and art
staff at Nelson Mandela HS in Mount Vernon, NY, primarily out of crushed
drink and detergent bottles, with wire and hot glue. The idea was to use
throw away plastic containers to construct an organism indigenous to the
Hudson River, as a way of bringing a greater focus on the impact of refuse
on our local environment. The project coordinated with 2009 as the 400
year anniversary of Henry Hudson sailing into the river named after him.
This, and a twenty-five foot 'MUD PUPPY' assemblage construction also made
from recyclables, were made possible through Federal grant awards for
INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVE STRATEGIES FOR EDUCATORS OF VISUAL ARTS, and
administered by Arts Westchester. Thank you USA, to those who contributed
recyclables, Nelson Mandela students, art staff and to Arts Westchester.
- Jeffrey Schrier, 2009
worked with 5th Grade students at Crompond Elementary School, Yorktown
NY, to develop concept and sketches that resulted in a permanent
sculpture to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. The masonry
sculpture, made of brick and stone, represents the school mascot (a
Cardinal) and motto (“Home for Mind and the Heart”).
with brick and stone provided a historical connection to area brick
factories that once operated along the Hudson River. Students also
contributed stones that they found in their yards or open space.
Westchester Arts Council
provided a 2008 Arts Partners Challenge Grant, made possible with
funds from the Local Capacity Building Program of the New York State
Council on the Arts. Substantial support was also provided by Alfredo
Santucci & Sons; Home Mason Supply, Peekskill, NY; Rok-Built
Construction; BOCES Arts in Education Program; the PTA and parents
from Crompond Elementary School; and the Yorktown Board of Education.
images below show the first of a new series of steel sculptures shaped
as massive butterflies. They are intended to promote community
building through the arts.
work shown was supported through grants from the Westchester
Council; The New York State Council on the Arts;
The Pelham Education
Foundation; BOCES Arts In Education and the PTA, as it involved the
direct participation of 61 students from the Hutchinson School in
Discussions about how we (humanity) have used our hands to create and
destroy, led to projects of visual art where students were guided to
use their hands as a point of departure. Participants made
tracings of their own hands in distinctive positions, which were
arranged into wing shapes that created the perimeter of a massive
butterfly. A master drawing of the butterfly shape was laser cut
out of sheet steel. It subsequently was given shape through
bending and hand hammering at a steel fabricator. The result is a 5’
X10’ steel butterfly, the outer shape composed of 61 images
of the different hands of the participant community.
butterfly sculpture in progress
steel butterfly was initially spray painted with iridescent color at an auto
body shop in the community.
with paint crew and visual artist, Jeffrey Schrier
hand shapes along the perimeter of the wings were painted by the students. The
work has been permanently installed at the school by parent and staff helpers.
particular sculpture coordinated with curriculum involved with study of the
rain forest. Shapes of rain forest animals were cut out from the
butterfly's wings then slightly repositioned, providing added depth.
Future steel butterflies created will involve similar participation for
institutions or organizations that bring the project to their community. This is
an excellent arts project to bring diverse participants or communities together
for common life sustaining / community building goals. Age range: 4th grade
through adults. It requires that the sponsoring institutions have a site
available for the mounting and permanent display of the finished work.
Project participants also learned about the power of community art through
project, in which to date, nearly 45,000 youth from 23 States and
Canada have participated in
building a 4 ton memorial in the shape of a butterfly, composed from 11 million
soda can tabs collected from all 50 states and eight countries. This continuing
project utilizes recycling to teach about community and ethics through direct
participation in building and assembling the work, at selected sites around the
view visuals of the Wings of Witness, click "Photo
For artist bio,
click "About The Artist".