SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

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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The Cradle Project All Levels Naomi Natale Cradle created by Steve Bromberg. I airplanes that would actually fly. The younger brother would sculpt anything requested of him for merely a shilling, only to destroy it and start over for his next amazed customer! By the time I heard this story, both of the brothers had gone missing and were feared dead. Their fate still remains unknown. Like so many millions of other anonymous and gifted children living in the slums, their potential as thriving and creative citizens of our global community slipped unnoticed and neglected through the falling sands of time. n the spring of 2008 one thousand cradles and cribs made by artisans from around the world will fill an abandoned warehouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We call this vision the Cradle Project. The Cradle Project is an art installation designed to represent the plight of the estimated fortyeight million children who have been orphaned by disease and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Our mission is to promote awareness Goals of the Project by engaging artists and their comThe Cradle Project's landmark munities, and to empower these Albuquerque installation will utichildren by raising the financial lize the symbolism of empty cradles support that will help feed, shelter, and falling sand to represent this and educate them and encouraging loss. Our initial goal is to amass a students in minimum of this country If we can see potential in scrap 1,000 cradles. to engage with We believe materials to build structures this pressing that if we can meant to cradle a child, then we collectively see global issue. can envision the potential of We are askenough potening teachers our world's forgotten children. tial in pieces and students of discarded throughout the country to organize scraps to build structures meant to the building of class cradles as part cradle a child, then we can extend of our Cradles of Hope initiative. our imaginations to envision the potential of our world's forgotten Inspiration children. One thousand empty craMy inspiration came four years ago dles speak volumes about loss. The during my travels across Kenya's wall of slowly falling sand in the landscape photo-documenting chilbackground symbolizes that these dren who were living in slums and lives, these cradles, this potential, orphanages. The story of two brothwill all be buried—irrevocably. ers who had lived in Kibera, the secOf course, if we are correct and ond largest slum in Africa, caught our visions do extend beyond the my attention. possibilities of scrap material to the Both brothers were graced with lives of vibrant and hopeful chilamazing creative talents—one dren, then the Cradle Project also could build out of scrap metal small represents hope. Children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Opportunity for Participation Because the context of the Cradle Project involves so many global issues and because the building of cradles from scrap material stimulates limitless imagination, resourcefulness, and personal expression, we believe that teachers and students alike will enjoy participating in our Cradles of Hope initiative. The idea of transforming potential into actuality is fundamental to all aspects of the Cradle Project. From the 1,000-cradle installation in Albuquerque to the many participating classrooms across the United States, every participant in this project is committing to learn and to imagine, to connect themselves to the greater global population, and to transform hope into creativity and community awareness. I strongly urge you to consider incorporating this project into one of your classes before the end of the school year. This issue is so important and any awareness we can spread is incredibly valuable. If you would like additional information on the Cradle Project and how you can contribute to it, please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address below. Naomi Natale is the founder of the Cradle Project. nnatale@thecradleproject.org Web Link www.thecradleproject.org SchoolArts May/June 2007 41

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