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Norval art feature photo

Collaborative art project by Grade 8 boys at Norval

Norval art project clock tower

Do you recognize this building?

All 140 Upper Canada College Grade 8 students were involved in the first of what should be annual collaborative art projects at the Norval Outdoor School last month.

“Students use found materials to create place-based land art on a large scale, inspired by the history of UCC and Norval’s land use,” says Norval instructor Liz Jankowski.

While land art with natural materials in the style of Andy Goldsworthy has been created at Norval in past years during the annual Grade 8 trip, this is the first time that it’s been a collaborative effort with each piece being incorporated into the next.

Norval art project aerial shot

An aerial view of the boys’ work.

“This is also the first year their art is created to be viewed from above,” says Jankowski, noting that a drone with a camera flew over the Norval campus to record the process.

“Not only were their finished pieces a work of art, but the entire process of creation over the week was filmed as an art piece as well.”

The idea was inspired by a British children’s television series called Art Attack where, at the end of each show, the host would create a large piece of art that could only be viewed from above.

Students had two hours to collect natural materials and create their design, and all of the projects combined took 12 hours to complete.

“They learned about planning a project within time constraints, and adapting their plan as time passed,” says Jankowski.

“They learned to work together towards a common goal, and how to incorporate all ideas from their group into their final design. They had fun creating the art.”

All the materials used to create the art were later moved to line a path at Norval.

“I hope in future years we can add to this path so the whole length of the path is lined with tree cookies,” says Jankowski.

Watch this video of the process to get an idea of the scale of the project.

Arts News