2008-02-22 / Community

Public School 43 Students Meet With Sculptor

In February 12, students from PS 43 met with local environmental sculptor, Ethan Long, to discuss the "Beech Tree Project," which Rockaway Waterfront Alliance will be conducting with Jo Anne Ellis' 8th grade class this spring.

During the renovation of the Rockaway boardwalk, Ethan Long has been salvaging discarded wood to use for a sculpture the students will be making before graduating this year.

Much of Long's experience as a sculptor has been working with natural wood and trees to create public art; some of which is featured in Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City and places throughout NYC.

"As owner of a set construction studio in Long Island City, Mr. Long is an artist who is fortunate enough to have established a successful business, which has given him the freedom to take on artistic projects like this, that are important to him. Hopefully, the students will recognize how vital it is to find something they really have a passion for, and create a career that is right for them," said Jeanne DuPont, Director of Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA).

This week students were shown cross section views of trees and asked to make their own "tree templates," which Long will cut at his studio. He will return next month with the templates, to be individually painted and designed by each student. The pieces will all be assembled into one large sculpture, which will be on display at this year's Earth Day Rockaway on May 3.

"We were thrilled to have Ethan come share his vision and ideas for the project with the students," said teacher Jo Anne Ellis. "This is an exciting opportunity for the students to work on an environmental sculpture and understand how they can effectively support and advocate for their community through art."

As part of this project, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance will be doing cleanups in a designated area outside the school, to place the sculpture on view for the public event in May.

Many of these students have been involved for the past two years in efforts by RWA and the NYC Parks Department to revitalize public park space outside the school.

Much of this same area has been designated as the PLANYC Rockaway park project, which is presently in the planning stages.

Since many of these students will be graduating this year, they will not have the opportunity to see the final development of the park. Hopefully, this project will be something they can give back to their fellow classmates and the community at large.

Stay tuned for updates on the students' progress on the "Beach Tree" project in the coming months.

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