Learning About “Sculpture in Situ” at Storm King Art Center
Every year, fourth graders go to Storm King Art Center in upstate New York. The trip is an opportunity to celebrate the milestone of reaching Upper Elementary, the first time students spend most of their day together as a grade (as opposed to the multi-grade classrooms of Primary and Lower Elementary). Of course, fourth graders also learn about the large-scale outdoor sculptures that make Storm King famous. This year, for the first time, the students used the trip as inspiration to embark on a project about “sculpture-in-situ.” Two students explain more:
As a class, we walked around the park, observing the sculptures from near and far. Some of them we could observe from underneath. Others we could actually sit on. One of the most memorable pieces looked like a teepee. From below, if you looked straight up, you could see a star shape in the sculpture. Another sculpture was actually a stone wall, made from rocks that were found around that area. That wasn’t the only sculpture that used natural materials though. Another one was made of dirt! It’s called Wavefield; It’s a bunch of hills clustered together to make it look like waves. We could not go on the field because it was closed because the grass on the field was wet. We saw various other sculptures, including one with a swing that we sat on. Of course, we had lunch too. Then we went to the south parking lot, where the bus was standing.
After we came back from Storm King we made our own sculptures. We looked at several different books about different architects to help us get our ideas. Our sculptures had to be site specific, it had to be observed from different angles, and from far away. We had to choose materials that would be compatible with our design. We needed to think about the scale, and if our sculptures were going to be solid or hollow, and we also needed to decide if we wanted our sculpture to be hanging inside, or outside on the ground. From the project, I learned that there are a lot of decisions to make when creating a sculpture!