Open Eye Club
In April of 2021 Jenna Robb and I began an experiment. As part of the Heat Response project, Jenna had spent the past year creating art workshops and experiences with children and families in a South Philadelphia park. I started tagging along to help. Nearly every Saturday morning, we would pack up a wagon full of art supplies and head to the park. Kids who showed up were excited to create using tools and materials that they had never used before. Parents and caregivers were grateful that there was something engaging for their kids to be a part of. It became obvious to us that there was a need for more opportunities for kids to create and express themselves.
So we started a club. An art club but also an experience club.
We created a fun process that invites both children and adults to practice noticing more of the subtle magic in the world around us and use those observations to inspire their own creative expression.
The Barn Mural
Our first Open Eye Club project was pretty ambitious. We have held workshops in a variety of South Philadelphia parks through the summer which culminated into a community-created mural on the side of the Big Red Barn at FDR park's Meadows. The panels for the mural were created at these workshops and included artwork from around 60 people of all ages.
To start the mural process, we asked everyone to chose a prompt card and take a walk through the park with their drawing materials. People took as much time as they liked to notice, observe, and draw before bringing their observations back to the group and translating them onto the mural panels.
The Garden Club
Our club began to connect with other parks, spaces, and organizations; creating a South Philadelphia constellation of Open Eye Clubbers. We created panels with a variety of communities in 4 different parks. We started a kids garden club in collaboration with People Alliance 215 where kids learned about growing food and tended beds in a local community garden. We painted a rain barrel and began planning for a 2022 mural in the garden.