SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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All Levels Seeking Homeless health clinic with solar panels, Aki and Brendan, grade five. SheLter Bus shelter design, Cole, grade five. Corinne Okada Takara H ave you ever sat at a bus stop project, a youth design and architecture and felt bored or isolated exploration leveraging both traditional because you forgot your media and online tools to create a sketchpad or book? I have. global dialog around pattern, commuI didn't think about this much until a nity identity, and bus shelters. year ago when I was beginning to envision a new collaborative youth project. Creating Shelters I wanted my next project to be centered Students collaboratively brainstorm on public spaces at street level. by building physical models of shelI was reflecting on how we interact ters using slotted cardboard or index at bus stops when a teacher informed cards. The models are photographed and me that kids were mocking other kids uploaded to an online album for sharing. for taking the Students crebus. In some ate and refine The goal of the design urban environtheir bus shelter challenge is for students to ments everyone concepts in a collaborate, brainstorm, build, three-dimentakes the bus. In and share design ideas. some suburban sional modelenvironments ing program very few people do. In some of the like Google SketchUp, as they further communities where I teach there are explore the Cartesian coordinate sysbenches but no shelters. tem and designing in three-dimenI started to think about how stusional space. They also create radial dents could reimagine these waiting patterns from drawings that represent spots to engage the public in new ways their community and add these as surand address community or environfaces to their virtual models. mental needs. How can youth share The resulting designs and their their ideas in a global dialog? explanations are shared on the Slot These questions fueled the developShelters website. The site facilitates ment of the Seeking Shelter Design peer critiquing and the sharing of design ideas. 42 March 2013 SchoolArts Design Process It was important to me for students to use a design process in which they first look at a challenge and need, then brainstorm and prototype, and then refine their designs. These design process skills are essential in creative fields, and I find that so many people struggle with these processes because they have not been introduced to them. Tactile Toolboxes Sometimes the simplest hands-on tools are the best. The Seeking Shelter Design project allowed students to use a material as simple as cardboard to represent some very complex and inspiring ideas. Many students wanted to continue building their collaborative structures during recess—the best indicator that a project is engaging! I hope many teachers and students will join in on this exploration. Winners, lesson plans, and additional information are available at www.slotshelters.com/seeking-shelter-designchallenge. Corinne Okada Takara is a working artist and arts educator in the San Francisco Bay area. Corinne@okadadesign.com

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