Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Foundation Laboratory: Get Involved

It's official. I've completed my first year at Parsons. It's been about 3 weeks since I came back. These class reviews have been pushed back long enough and it's better if I get them written up before I start panicking about next year.

The first class I'll talk about is Lab. Much like its fall semester, this class is about working in groups. I suppose it's to simulate what working in the industry is like. Though I do hope that in the real world the people are a little more willing to actually work. I had a lot of options for what kind of Lab I could take. I decided to take "Get Involved" because it sounded like we'd be making merchandise for charities and schools. The idea just sounded a lot more selfless. Also, I wanted to take any class that wasn't taught by a certain someone.

First project  - Temporary murals at PS8

This was a little stressful at first since I haven't worked with children in awhile. We were to go to classes and have the children share and draw what they believe is "collaboration." Luckily, my group had the Pre-K children so it was basically a few hours of us squeeing over how adorable they were. 

Here is a selection of the students' drawing. My "dogwalking" example was colored in with the assistance of some very enthusiastic kids.

We then had to transfer those ideas onto murals of overwhelming vibrancy. The teacher suggested that the content be like a Rube Golberg device (foreshadowing), though I still don't really see how any of the murals mimicked that. Which is good, since my idea was a little too complicated. Also, the entire school took shifts working on the murals, so the idea of trying to direct 500 children on what to paint would have been unrealistic. 

The mural I worked on. I'm standing on the right.

Second Project - Rube Goldberg Device

This project lasted about 9 weeks. In the beginning we had to make our own little device. Mine was mostly made out of this rusty sculpture I found in the trash. It's a wonder I didn't need a tetanus shot.

Then we formed small groups. Our group's goal was to create some sort of painting. We spent about 3 hours trying to pop a balloon filled with paint. In the end, I think we settled with knocking ground-up chalk and water onto paper.

Art is made!

We then teamed up with another group and set about instructing a class at PS8 about how to create their own devices. We made handouts explaining terms. Here is a selection of the graphics I drew.

The devices turned out pretty cool. There was a little tension between some of the kids, but they seemed to have had a great time. Our class got great reviews. 

The final part was creating pamphlets as a sort of souvenir of the experience. It was created in a week that was full of miscommunication, drama, late nights, and a last minute meeting. Yet again, it turned out really well. 

Third Project - Pop-up store

This was definitely the breath of fresh air we needed after that multi-month long project. First, the class selected 3 charities: New York Children's Aid Society, Unicef for Haiti and Sahel. We were charged with creating products to sell to raise money for the aforementioned charities. Since I don't have the skills or desire to sew things, I went the quick and fun route:


The shop was set up in the Parsons lobby. I wish I still had the pictures of the tables, because it was really impressive what the class came up with. The customer was allowed to choose which charity their money went to. Coincidentally, each charity raised over $100. So in just 2 hours, we raised over $300!

Final Project - Eagle Street Rooftop Farms

Again, the class was assigned to create products. This time for the world famous Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. 

The view is pretty nice too.

We had the option of working in groups or on our own. It's pretty easy to guess which option I chose.

They mentioned teaching kids about bees. So of course, being honey obsessed and all, this ended up being my contribution:

Informative bee poster! 

It was actually quite enjoyable making this. I really had complete freedom over what I drew and taught. The teachers liked this enough to request their own copies. Eagle Street though it would be useful. So yes, I was pretty happy with how easily successful it was. 

The class's marvelous contributions.

On the last day of class, we made some banners for the farm. I'm sitting in the middle with the cityscape I just painted. 

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