Students at Springer School and Center in Hyde Park collaborated with Oregon artist Daniel Dancer this week to create a piece of art best viewed from atop a 50-foot crane. Wearing black shirts, Springer students and staff members each served as a drop of paint, filling in the outline of an eagle fashioned from mulch, sand and fabric on the school’s lawn. Groups of students worked with Dancer to arrange the materials on the lawn before the entire school gathered to create the visual effect, which was photographed from above.
Dancer’s artwork came with a message – something he calls “skysight.” “You know the old saying, you can’t see the forest for the trees? Skysight is the ability all humans have to see the whole first,” said Dancer. “Training our imaginations to awaken our skysight, to rise above our problems and see the elusive Grand Picture and how each part fits into the whole, is a vital skill that can lead us to the most creative solutions to our problems.”
Springer’s Center Program Coordinator Barbara Hunter sees Dancer’s concept of skysight as analogous to the strategies the school teaches to help children with learning disabilities find success. “We teach students that they must take a step back and observe themselves as learners,” said Hunter. “What are their strengths? Where are their pitfalls? What strategies will help them to realize the goals they’ve set for themselves?”
Using still and video photography, Dancer produced a video that captured the process, the product, and the energy and enthusiasm displayed by students as they worked. A still photo and the video, which can be seen at http://vimeo.com/77743545, are all that remain of the artwork, created in honor of Springer’s mascot. “Art that leaves no trace is a lesson in impermanence,” said Dancer. “Children bodily experience the impermanent nature of all things as the image dissolves at the conclusion of the event.”
This project was made possible through the Maureen Wenker Artist in Residence fund, which was created in memory of a Springer supporter and alumni parent.