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Collaborative Earth Day Art Project Unveiled Saturday

Published: April 22, 2010
After cleaning off the papier-mâché paste from her elbows on a recent April visit, Kelsey Scott ’10 reflected on the help she is receiving from middle school Earth Scouts on a collaborative art project.

“Their talent is great, and they are really cooperative,” said Scott, an art major who has been volunteering this semester at Ybor City’s Academy Prep Center of Tampa. “Their attitude is awesome.”

Scott is among several volunteers from The University of Tampa — students and faculty from the art department — who are collaborating with the Earth Scouts and staff at Academy Prep and with Earth Charter U.S. to create a sculpture and dance performance that will be unveiled and performed at an April 24 gathering: the Academy Prep Center of Tampa Earth Scouts Arts & Sustainability Earth Day Event.

“It’s a good way to teach the kids while creating a piece of art,” said Tiffany Huettemann ’12, an art major. “I thought about teaching high school or college-age students after graduation, but doing this has made me consider maybe teaching middle school children. I love the kids.”

Academy Prep is a college preparatory middle school that supports its graduates through high school, college and into their careers. Sharon Joller, the school’s community relations coordinator, explained that students attend 11 hours a day up to 6 days a week, 11 months a year. All students attend on full scholarships.

“This collaborative project is a way to teach students their role in the community, in protecting the Earth,” said Chris Valle, UT assistant professor of art, who is working with Assistant Professor Kendra Frorup on organizing the sculpture. “This is a way to engage our students outside the classroom.”

The Earth Scouts is an environmentally-minded club developed by Earth Charter U.S., a nonprofit organization based in Tampa that provides an ethical framework to building a caring, sustainable and peaceful global society. Jan Roberts, founder of the Earth Charter U.S. , is an adjunct instructor at UT who brought the Earth Scouts program to Academy Prep in 2008.

The scouts will run the Earth Day event booths and star in the performances, which convey the Earth Charter principles of peace and nonviolence, respect for nature, human rights, participatory democracy, and social and economic justice.

The Earth Day event will include food donated by Tampa Whole Foods Market and the opportunities to create art with recycled materials, receive a chance to win a bicycle donated by the Junior League of Tampa, and see a performance by the Stageworks Drum Circle as well as a storytelling performance co-created by Academy Prep’s sixth-grade girls, UT Professor of Dance Susan Taylor Lennon, and Lisa Barton ’10.

Barton, a theatre major and speech minor, will be attending New York University’s graduate school in theater education for college and communities this fall. Barton, who has spent summers leading theater camps in Arizona, said she wanted to volunteer with the Earth Scouts to gain more experience teaching.

“This plopped me right in the middle of the education field, a great way to test the waters before grad school,” Barton said. “It’s been a great experience. Everyone at the school is so helpful and supportive. I imagine that’s the kind of education experience I’d like to work in.”

The Academy Prep Center of Tampa Earth Scouts Arts & Sustainability Earth Day Event will be held Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. on the Ybor Campus of Hillsborough Community College, 2112 N. 15th St., check in at the main gate. The event is free and open to the public.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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