Planted on Pointe, two participatory art activities for 288 students attending the Wild Festival for Youth, was held on June 13th from 9am-2pm at the Tugboat Bay Beach in Kelowna. These participatory and interactive art works engaged a number of communities in a dialogue about how we can share knowledge of environmental issues through public participation in art and science. Along with the students, the event brought together over 35 volunteers including 6 Telus Communications employees who were recruited through the Festival, 4 student volunteers and research assistants from the University of British Columbia, 5 family members and friends, as well as 14 parent volunteers and 8 teachers from the seven participating schools. As the event was held in an outdoor public location, there were additionally 20-40 onlookers who witnessed the activities and in some cases engaged in discussion.

The activities, lowering our carbon footprint and planted on pointe, gave participants a chance to physically engage with climate change challenges and solutions through creative art and design:

 

lowering our carbon footprint – Thinking through Doing:

Starting with a discussion about what a carbon footprint is, students experienced and witnessed an art activity where a student left his/her own blue paint carbon footprints on three successive cloth scrolls, gradually reducing the size of the print. On the first scroll the student was encouraged to walk barefoot alone, the second on tip toe with some support and the third scroll two assistants helped the student complete the walk using ballet pointe shoes. After students had left a trace of their walk (footprint), they shared insights about how using a smaller footprint felt and what it might mean in their everyday lives.

 

Planted on Pointe – Living Wall Design:

Students also participated in a collaborative design phase of a living wall project. The art activity was an embodied way of developing innovative thinking and problem solving capacities. Students were supplied with recycled pointe shoes, living soil, drought resistant native grasses, paper and pens. They were given the opportunity to put the soil and plants in the pointe shoes and then design living wall construction ideas on paper showing how the shoes could be suspended.