“Most people assume that imagination takes place in the head, but the hands are just as important.” ~ Mitch Resnick, MIT Media Lab
Dear Friends of LEAPS,
When children find themselve at the intersection of discovering their capacity to make art and exploring the natural world, deep thinking happens. Local kids who participated in the Langlais LEAPS summer program “got the picture” by soaking up inspiration from the artist himself- Bernard Langlais.
In six weeks of observation, research, and making, led by LEAPS’ artist, Susan Beebe, children engaged in (1) a study of butterflies (2) the creation of a collaborative bas relief, and (3) the art of speaking through hand-made animal puppets – while becoming stewards of the Earth. And that was only the half of it.
The artworks that evolved reveal how nature inspires art and art helps change minds. Having planted their own garden, kids saw butterflies lay eggs there. From the magic of Langlais’ sculptures, they gained confidence as woodworkers. Walking the paths of the Sculpture Preserve got every child’s brain going. As humans, when we travel down new pathways (either literally or figuratively) we generate new neurons in our brains. We can, through these repeated experiences, actually alter the structure and function of our brains!
Taking kids out on trails, training them to observe closely, and inviting them to transform what they’ve seen into original art has impacted our campers this summer. And their commitment to nature and the practice of forging connections will stick with them down the road.
If you’d like to learn more about LEAPS and how we connect local artists with kids, come along with us. Check out our website – leapsofimagination.org.
Wide-eyed with wonder, and grateful to all who made this program possible, Nancy Harris Frohlich, Director, LEAPS of IMAGINATION