Monday, January 14, 2013
A tree has blossomed at Oakbrook Elementary School.
Planted and conceived in the minds of young artists, rendered onto scrap metal, and brought forth to creation through the careful guidance and hands-on instruction of sculptor and OES Resident Artist Bob Doster, the metal palm tree now stands proudly outside the front door of the school.
The sculpture was one of several arts programs that students in which students will have an opportunity to participate, thanks to a recent $18,000 Arts Curricular Innovation grant, according to OES Art Teacher Mackenzie Clark. Clark and dance teacher Marie Connelly wrote the grant.
In this program, students competed to come up with a design for their creation, which turned out to be a Palmetto tree. Two winning designs by students Zoe Baker, who came up with the tree and Jackson Salinas, who designed the cut outs in the center of the fronds, were chosen and combined into one creation. All the students got the opportunity to work with and cut metal; all helped work on the final creation, she said.
Zoe and Jackson both said they were excited by the project and especially enjoyed learning to cut with metal.
“I thought it was neat, the way it made all the sparks,” Zoe said of the metal cutting process.
Doster, a Lancaster, S.C. sculptor, said the children drew the design free hand onto a 4 foot by eight foot piece of sheet metal. Once that design was cut, then they could trace the original onto several other pieces of sheet metal and cut them to match, then weld them together and attach them to the metal pole that serves as the tree’s trunk.
Doster has been conducting school programs across South Carolina for some 30 years, he said.
“I’ve worked with over 120,000 kids now,” he said. “They’re great to work with.”
Doster’s work can not only be seen at Oakbrook, but at several other schools around the district, including all three high schools, Rollings Middle School of the Arts, Flowertown Elementary School, and Newington Elementary School.