Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Children's Art Helps Connect North Topeka Residents, School

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Children's Art Helps Connect North Topeka Residents, School

Article excerpt

A plan to use art to show which houses children could safely go to for help has hit a snag, but North Topeka artists and educators still see an opportunity to build relationships.

Carol Bradbury, who owns Bloomerang art studio and has worked with Quincy Elementary School to involve children in the NOTO Arts District, said there was an idea to make window clings with designs the kids helped create that would identify a safe house they could go to if they were on their way home and needed help, perhaps because they had fallen off a bike or just felt threatened by older kids. The problem, however, was that they couldn't guarantee that someone who shouldn't interact with children wouldn't somehow get a window cling, she said.

"As I talked to people around the community, they were really excited," she said. "But we kept running into hurdles."

The modified idea is to give families who have a student at Quincy Elementary a window cling as part of their packet of materials at the beginning of the year, principal Susan Liotta said. So while the clings wouldn't endorse that a house was safe, they can help create a sense of community, she said.

"No one wants to take the liability that whoever answers that door is a safe person," she said.

The clings would resemble banners hanging from streetlights in the NOTO Arts District. Children at Quincy, which integrates fine arts with academics, each made a "mark" that somehow represented themselves on silk banners over the course of two days of workshops in September, Bradbury said. She then took elements of the children's drawings on the various banners and altered them to create more harmonious pictures, though the originals still are on display at the NOTO Arts Center.

The idea wasn't just to create new banners, but to give children a feeling of ownership in the arts district and their neighborhoods in general, Bradbury said. …

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