Pinning ‘Art in Schoolyards’

I’ve been collecting boards on Pinterest on a variety of eco-art related topics this last year (previous post). One of the boards that inspires me to get back outside is the ‘Art in Schoolyards’ board, where I have been collecting images of innovative art installations on school playgrounds.  Having done some of this type of work in the past, it never ceases to amaze me how artists can jumpstart their creativity in contact with natural and built environments. Some are using found materials to create installations – check out the bottle cap murals or re-painted picket fences that are springing up.  Others are using chain-link fences as a matrix for weaving, crocheting, knitting and lacemaking. Plastic pop and water bottles are proving to be a readily accessible (and free) art material that is being upcycled into flowers, towers, water features, even furniture!  And of course many schoolyard artists are going ‘au naturel’, using branches, plants, clay, and other biodegradable materials to create frames, weavings, mosaics, garden totems, play structures, and insect habitats.  I’d love to see more examples of these – send me your photos or Pinterest pins to help me grow this collection!

The High Line is a Highlight!

I’m still thinking about my trip to New York in March – it’s such a wonderful city to inspire thought and action.  One of the fondest memories I have taken away from it was my trip to the High Line, a new public park that sits on an old raised railway line on the west side of Manhattan.  It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.  On it you find the old train rails interspersed with plantings, eco-artworks, benches, and amazing views of the neighbourhoods that surround it.  It’s an entirely unique way to experience NYC as you are raised above but still part of the fabric of the city.  Below are photos of just two of the artworks that have been beautifully immersed into the park’s design.  The stained glass piece is by Spencer Finch, who was inspired by the colours of the nearby Hudson River; the amazing birdhouses are by artist Sarah Sze.  If you’re in Manhattan, a visit to the High Line is a must – just as inspiring as visiting the galleries!  For more info, visit:

High Line 2012

No. 9’s new urban design programs for grade seven students

I met yesterday with Andrew Davies of No.9, an intriguing community arts group in Toronto that focuses on contemporary art and the environment.  They have curated a variety of art exhibits in the city over the last few years, raising awareness and instigating discussion about climate change, water systems, sustainable building, stewardship, and presented the work of artists like Edward Burtynsky, BGL, Dean Baldwin, and Iain Baxter, all to interesting effect.  No. 9 also delivers art-based programs to school children, using environmental art as the starting point to engage them in issues about sustainability.  Their most recent project focuses on urban design – it’s called “Imagining my Sustainable City:  Appreciating Place and Envisioning Toronto’s Future”, and will reach grade 7 students in 44 schools across Toronto.   This project is timely given our new mayor’s lack of vision in planning for Toronto’s future – perhaps we can get him to attend one of these programs!  Andrew’s dedication to environmental art education is admirable – see how you can help to support their work by visiting their website at: