The Vancouver chapter of the Awesome Foundation is proud to award its inaugural grant to the General Gordon Spirit Project. The chapter selected the Spirit Project in recognition of the inspiring contributions of a team of local high school students to the creation of a heritage art project for General Gordon Elementary. Motivated by the plans for a new school building and the impending demolition of the 1912 heritage building where they attended primary school, the group of 7 students came together to develop a unique photo collage artwork. Incorporating physical materials from a popular decommissioned playground slide from the school grounds, the artwork assembles photographs of General Gordon students to form an image of the heritage building. The group will use the $1,000 Awesome grant to pay for the production and installation of the artwork, providing an enduring link from the heritage building to the new school.
In their own words:
General Gordon Elementary school has been a cornerstone of the Kitsilano neighborhood for over a century. The 100 year old school is being torn down due to earthquake safety concerns. This will result in a loss of SPIRIT and HISTORY.
Team GP7 is creating an AWESOME Public Art piece, to help transition the spirit and history of the old school to the new school. The art piece is a large (5 foot x 7 foot) picture of the old school - it is a collage, made with over 1000 photographs of students, teachers and community members. It will be framed in material from the old school (metal from the "old slide", and will hang in the front hall of the new school.
This project is the result of a 6 month planning process that has been entirely "student driven". We first visited the Archives and researched the history of the school and neighborhood. We built 3 prototypes of our project ideas and then met with Public Artist, Jill Anholt who helped us solidify our idea. We realized that the SPIRIT of the school is in the people, not just the bricks and mortar, and this Art Piece reflects this idea.
After deciding on the photo collage we met with a graphic arts company, Station X, who showed us how to create the collage with a computer program. We went into General Gordon School and spent a day photographing all the students, teachers, and some community members. The kids had a chance to write about important memories of the school and what the old school means to them. We will be working with a metal worker to make a frame using material from the old school.
Funded by Vancouver, BC (April 2013)