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Parks & Rec. gets artsy

Stay tuned for the 2018 Community Art Project, which is coming soon.

By: Amy Filippone, Dept. of Parks & Recreation

Back in 2014, Sophia Geiger, Moorestown Parks & Rec’s Artist In Residence, began a community art project that was created by all of Moorestown’s summer camps, including special needs. Sophia Geiger’s vision was to give kids “a chance to create, enhance and give back to their community through a visual art installation.” Art projects are wonderful to take home, but these collaborate works allow kids to leave their own small legacy behind.

In 2014, the first project was titled “Fenceposts.” A total of 125 “self-portrait” fenceposts were painted by the campers. All were similar in form but unique in their depiction of campers at a very particular moment in their lives. Home Depot donated materials (fence posts, paint and brushes) and volunteers to assemble and install the fences at various locations. Each fence section consists of eight fenceposts. They can be seen in their intended garden settings in front of the Church Street Recreation Center, New Albany Senior Center, Fullerton Park and Roberts School.

In 2015, each camp made one painting to create a series of five beautiful 40×40 canvases. Each painting is unique, but as a whole they become a mini-exhibition of modern masters. Roberts School’s motto of “School with a Heart” provided the theme of the painting, which has bold colors and patterns and bring to mind Pop Art of the sixties. New Albany’s campers brought the outdoors to life depicting a hot air balloon in a Chagall-esque style.

The Upper Elementary School drew from its location across from the “Corn Cruiser” that in July is lit up at night by fireflies. It evokes Van Gogh under a very atmospheric moonlit night. The special needs campers painted two, Pollack-esque splatter paintings. The blank canvases were laid outside and kids were outfitted with plastic-bag coveralls, paint, brushes and squeeze bottles filled with paint. This pure expression with no “color within the lines” directive completely delighted the kids. Each canvas is labeled by year and location and signed by all artist-contributors. They are on display on the 3rd floor of the Church Street Recreation Center.

In 2016, the campers were busy outdoors, taking trips to places like the Rancocas Nature Center. Geiger wanted to tie in conservation with nature and “A Conservation Tree” was born. Campers learned about endangered species and the levels of severity: critically endangered, endangered, threatened and vulnerable.

“I really wanted to teach kids about endangered species,” Geiger said.

It is a stunning work visually with a very powerful message. The special needs campers provided hand cutouts as the leaves of the tree, some inscribed with possible solutions to this serious issue.

In 2017, the iconic “Welcome to the Moorestown Parks and Rec. Center” sign was created that is on display on the 3rd floor of the Church Street Recreation Center. Brazilian artist, Romero Britto was the inspiration for this big, bold sign. His work combines elements of cubism, pop and graffiti and utilizes vibrant colors and whimsical patterns. Campers made a joyful, welcoming and playful sign that always lifts the spirits.

The Community Art Projects are little gems that can be enjoyed on many levels. Geiger teaches art to stimulate thought and foster creativity.

Stay tuned for the 2018 Community Art Project, which is coming soon.

SUMMER ART CAMP for kindergarten through fifth grade will take palce from Aug. 6 through Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Geiger, will be taking kids on an intergalactic voyage. This year’s sci-fi theme will have children creating all things to do with outer space — aliens, rockets, astronauts and robots.

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