The class, taught by Robin Murez, challenges students to explore the idea of 'Moving Art', both as a kinetic piece and in terms of 'moving' the viewer by expanding their perspective. Within that framework, students were asked to consider this year's parade theme, "Our Little Piece of Paradise - Celebrating 75 Years of Westchester", and design and fabricate a float. Students researched the region's history as well as conducted interviews at the Westchester Senior Center.
Students also had the opportunity to sit down with Tongva Elder Julia Bogany and learn more about the Native American tribes of California. The Tongva story of the Great Spirit creating California on the shells of giant sea turtles became the inspiration for the students' float. "We wanted to focus on something that the community wouldn't really think about," Becca Bryant ('18 Fine Arts) explains. "The theme is "75 Years of Westchester", but who was here before? The Tongva people."
Similar to Tongva construction, the students built floats with reeds and other sustainable materials, ensuring the pieces are 99% biodegradable. Digital Media junior, Chieh-I Lee, explained that using materials from nature reflected the value that native tribes placed on their environment. Plus, she adds, "...after the parade, there won't be any trash."
The class also brings together students from several majors, allowing for interdisciplinary learning and collaboration. "It's a breath of fresh air to step away from the computer for a little while," says Wolfgang Traenkle, Digital Media ('18). "To actually build something that moves in real life instead of figuring out the equation to make it move on a screen." Architecture/Landscape/Interiors junior Ally Schaeffer adds, "This has definitely given me an opportunity to be more free in my building skills and to have fun with it."
All members of the Otis Community are invited to join the group in the parade. Participants are asked to dress in all black, and will be provided with a parade t-shirt and a puppet/sculpture to carry. To participate, meet the group at 9:00 am on July 4th in the lobby of the Galef Fine Arts building. Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult.