Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ArtPrize Day

Our city has an annual three-week-long art competition that draws artists from all over the world and basically turns the central part of our downtown into a huge art gallery. Ever since its first year, three years ago, I have taken my students downtown to see ArtPrize. This is a highly anticipated outing every year. Today was our ArtPrize day!
Many of the outdoor pieces are large sculptures, like this metal fish, complete with a water feature (that encouraged people to throw coins in to make a wish - the artist is donating the proceeds from the change to Multiple Sclerosis research - my kids loved throwing change in this one, of course.)

Another of my students' favorites was this big red dragon, made out of recycled materials.

Music is art, too! This was a huge working "music box" and was a performance piece, too - the artist had made xylophones that the kids had fun playing along with the music box.

"The Firebird"

A highlight every year for my students is walking across the "Blue Bridge," a pedestrian bridge over the river. I don't know why they get so geeked about the Blue Bridge, but they do! We have to take a group picture there every year. This fish was hanging from the overhead beams of the bridge.

Each year, there is something pretty cool in the river (first year it was the Loch Ness Monster, which now lives at our zoo) - we were excited to go down on the riverwalk to see these horses, made from tree branches, up close!

There is definitely a lot of more "typical" fine art in the competition, but my students are certainly more drawn to the large, visually stimulating pieces! Public can vote - mostly via text message - for the top pieces and the eventual cash prize winner, so I always register my phone so my students can "vote up" (in ArtPrize lingo) their favorite pieces and they are a part of the whole phenomenon!

Of course, going downtown is a real treat in and of itself for my students. Because of their disabilities, most of them really never get downtown except to go to the hospital. They are amazed by hot dog vendors, tall buildings, taxis, the guy digging for something (bait? crawfish?) in the shallows of the river, and some even scream in delight as we push wheelchairs quickly across crosswalks with crazy-short 'walk' lights! Definitely my favorite outing of the year, too.


  1. That's so cool! I'm sure your students loved it!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  2. WOW! Those sculptures are AMAZING! I'm so glad your kids had fun! What a great trip you took them on! I'm sure they will always remember it! :o)

    A is for Apple B is for Blog

  3. That's SO great that you take them on that trip! I love annual trips like that - the kids get so excited! Looks like your guys had a great time :)

    - Sasha
    The Autism Helper

  4. What a cool trip for your students! I wish we had something like that here. What other types of community outings do you take throughout the year? P.S. I picked up some of the fall leaves foam stickers from Dollar Tree today! Thanks for the tip. :)


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