Installation Sculpture Project

By Lebryk, Ann | School Arts, March 2002 | Go to article overview

Installation Sculpture Project


Lebryk, Ann, School Arts


This sculpture project was inspired by Cows on Parade, a city-wide installation sculpture project held in Chicago, Illinois, during the summer of 1999. Cows on Parade was a cooperative effort of the business community and the Arts Council of Chicago. Artists ranging from professionals to elementary student groups submitted designs for the decoration of a life-size Fiberglas cow. Businesses interested in participating in the project selected an artist by the designs, and provided a stipend to offset the cost of creating the artistic cow. The finished cows were placed throughout the city of Chicago for all to enjoy.

I took my advanced art classes on a walking tour of the cows of Michigan Avenue in Chicago. We discussed the materials used to decorate the cows, the message the artist tried to convey, and what the students liked or disliked about each sculpture we saw. Students that were not able to attend the field trip were able to view the cows on the Internet and look at the photographs we brought back.

Creating Our Own Parade

For our school-wide installation project, we decided to use Styrofoam wig heads instead of cows. Sculpture students were instructed to find sponsors for their sculptures. The sponsor was to be a teacher or other staff member of the school. The job of the sponsor was to provide a theme for the work and to display the finished sculpture in a classroom. Students interviewed their chosen sponsor and made a list of their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and subjects they taught. From this list, they designed their sculpture.

When the sculptures were finished, they had to look somewhat like a head and had to have a base. Because these pieces were to be displayed in public, they needed to be sturdy. The sculptures were to be a symbolic representation of the staff member. I encouraged students to do more than collage pictures on the heads.

Once students had a design, they cut the base out of foam board using a utility knife or single-edge razor blade.

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