Our Newest Program - Fresh Flowers
To create a Flower Power STEAM Lesson Kit for free distribution to collaborating K-8 art and science teachers in severely underfunded public schools throughout the country.
Fresh Artists was invited by PA Horticultural Society to design and implement a region-wide program to include K-12 children’s floral art in Flower Power, the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show. We invited the Garden Club of Philadelphia to help, partnered with SEPTA (regional public transit) to bring widespread regional access to the children’s artwork, and curated collection of more than 250 macro photos for the children’s inspiration from many professional and award-winning amateur photographers. Many Garden Club of Philadelphia members provided their photos, as well as several Garden Club of Philadelphia Zone V club photographers and directors and staff of the Morris, Tyler and Longwood arboreta.
Garden Club of Philadelphia members, led by Elizabeth Harper, donated time receiving and cataloging the thousands of submissions and helping to install the children’s art in SEPTA’s Jefferson Train station. They also conferred special awards to outstanding children’s art by placing tiny certificates for “Outstanding Artistic Achievement” on hundreds of artworks on 10-day display at the Jefferson exhibition. They've made a seed grant to help Fresh Artists develop the Kits and pilot the first distribution to regional art/science teachers.
The lesson is taught by the art teacher where each child adopts a flower (photo) and makes a “portrait” of it – shoulders up. Paying attention to expressing its personality. A final exhibition of ALL flower portraits is the recommended outcome of the lesson, as well as learning specific information about the particular flower they adopt.
LESSON GETS STEAM
After the Flower Show, Fresh Artists was besieged with requests from other schools to make the project into a permanent program by converting it into our free Art Kit form so art teachers throughout the country could use it. We realized this was our opportunity to develop an even richer and deeper educational experience for kids who have scant close-up experience with flowers or pollinators. It was the perfect opening to make it a STEAM lesson, linking art and science, in this case a trifecta of art, botany and entomology!
We engaged the help of a veteran Philadelphia elementary science teacher, Tienne Myers, to develop the science portion. Flowers are part of the 4thgrade state education standards in Pennsylvania schools, so we are focusing on this grade in order to support this important science requirement, but know this Kit will be useful and engaging for a wide range of ages.
LOOPING BACK TO PHILANTHROPIC ACTION
Fresh Artists mantra is “Great Art Doing Good,” which translates into “most artwork ends up on the refrigerator door - but it can do much more.” We encourage children to find ways to have their artwork help other children - therefore amplifying its value to the world and the young artist. Fresh Artists facilitates this by reproducing selected children’s art (licensed to us by the parents) and placing enormous reproductions in the offices of corporate, university, health care and nonprofits throughout the country. Proceeds from these reproductions fund the delivery of quality art supplies and programs to underfunded schools. Children are encouraged and empowered through several hands-on programs to use their art for the common good (see www.freshartists.org/programs/clothesline).
We were excited to see a “value-added” in this unique collaboration between art and science education by introducing and spotlighting the fascinating process of pollination to the lesson.
After examining the critical importance of many pollinators such as bats, moths, birds and wind, we focus on bees and their serious challenges to the world’s food production. We will end the multi-faceted STEAM investigation of powerful flowers (artmaking, dissection, and reproduction) with the opportunity for advocacy – inviting children to bring this urgent and important situation to their family dinner tables. An iconic teddy bear container of honey sits on most family’s kitchen counter. Linking to this ubiquitous sweet treat, the Flower Power lessons can be a super-grass roots tool to develop an “advocacy muscle” empowering young children to lead family discussions around honey-bees and ways their own family can encourage local bee populations and other important pollinators by mitigating their family’s habits. Bringing pollinator-pleasing plants into their communities and changing family/community habits in pesticide use can increase local pollinators.
In other words, a really young call to action to save the bees!
We are reaching out to local beekeeping leaders to include age-appropriate resources for our Lesson Kits. We are working with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) to explore integrating our Flower Power Lesson Kits in their new community gardening initiatives throughout the Philadelphia public schools. We are connecting to national nonprofits working to increase the awareness of the importance of pollinators in the world food sources to help us tell the story to elementary school age children and enlist them in this advocacy.
A short history of Fresh Artists Flower Power Art Lesson Kit:
- Born at 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show, FLOWER POWER
- All-Call for Art: “Make a Portrait of a Powerful Flower”
- Choose one flower, flower only, not bouquets, not gardens
- Make a “Shoulders up”, full frontal portrait, like people
- Selection of 250 macro photos donated by award-winning photographers from Longwood, Morris, Tyler and 8 GCA Zone V clubs
- Sent to art teachers in Philadelphia, Norristown, Chester and Camden public school districts.
- 2,254 children in forty-three K-12 schools submitted artwork
- Children’s Art Show Welcomed SEPTA riders to the 2019 Flower Show by
- Exhibition on all walls of Jefferson Station Concourse for 10 days
- 85 kids’ art was featured by wrapping a SEPTA bus, regional rail train and 2 subway cars with children’s Powerful Flowers – “Mobile Museums of Mini-Masterpieces” – resulting estimated viewings by more than 2,000,000 people
- Transportation vehicles are planned to be in service for a year
- Exhibition in Grand Hall at 2019 Flower Show
- Giant blow-ups of about 60 children’s art were on display for the entire Show
- 255 free Show tickets given to kids, a parent, and art teacher with art on SEPTA