Progress continues to be made on Portsmouth City School District’s Human Right Garden. After breaking ground Sept. 21, the project is well underway.
Conceptualized by Art Teacher, April Deacon, The Human Rights Garden will be a permanent outdoor sculpture and plant garden located on the Applegate Green, based upon the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The project was funded by the Ohio Arts Council’s TeachArtsOhio Initiative.
The concrete has been poured, and students are now working to complete their ideas and concepts for their sculptures that will decorate the garden. During the ‘Made with Purpose,’ art show held Jan. 12, a slideshow of the progress was put together and displayed. Bricks, tiles and paper castings were also on display during the evening.
The seventh grade gifted students and high school Art I students worked alongside visiting artist Kevin Lyles to create paper castings based upon the rights they’ve studied. These paper castings were then used to create ceramic tiles will be featured in the garden.
Seventh grade student Cainen Jarrells created one tile, which featured an image of a boat on water. According to Jarrells, the water represents the bad things in life and the boat represents humanity rising above the bad. Jarrells was inspired by a story that his teacher Liz Mounts read to the class.
“I wanted to try to bring it home to the students so that they could really understand human rights,” said Mounts. “We read the book ‘A long walk to water,’ and it’s actually a true story about a boy from Sudan named Salva Dut. He was adopted by an American family and got his education here. Here’s now back in Sudan and he’s digging wells for villages and tribes, helping them access clean water.”
A pile of bricks created by the students was also displayed during the art show, each engraved with a word related to human rights.
“The entrance of the garden will say, ‘I have the right to,’ and the bricks the students created each have a word like ‘safety,’ ‘equality,’ ‘safety’ and others. These bricks will be used along the pathway throughout the garden,” explained art teacher, April Deacon. “We’re working hard to get it completed.”
The high school Three-Dimensional Art students also worked with Lyles on the designs for three large-scale bronze, aluminum and stone sculptures also based upon the theme of Human Rights. The students will also be hosted at Rio Grande to observe their work come to life in bronze through the process of lost-wax casting.
Also on display were silicone molds of architectural salvage that will be used throughout the garden as either paving stones, or pieces for benches and sculptures.
The Building and Maintenance students will also be working to design and build benches for the space.
In the future, students will also be working with educators and designers from the Franklin Park Conservatory. The fifth grade science students will work with these educators to learn about plants and ecosystems. During this phase, the Three-Dimensional Art students will bring the garden to life by selecting plants with the help of Franklin Park Horticulture Designer, Garet Martin.
The project is slotted to be completed by the end of the school year, in May of 2017. The garden produced will be just the first part of a multi-phase learning series that will continue to grow throughout the years and impact elementary, junior high and high school learners. In the coming years, the school hopes to add an outdoor physical fitness area, a vegetable garden, gazebos and an outdoor exhibition space for art display.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.