Garden of Fire

During the summer of 2018, The Rockwell’s educators, along with our partners at The Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, 171 Cedar Arts Center, Tanglewood Nature Center and CareFirst (formerly Southern Tier Hospice), will offer programs to approximately 135 students served by the Corning Salvation Army, Addison Youth Center, Hornell Area Concern for Youth, and the Corning Area Youth Center.

Follow along all summer long on our collaborative blog!

The goal of the program is to educate children about nutrition and health, art, music and natural science through interactive experiences. The “Garden of Fire” title represents the gardening and fire ceramics activities that will be offered as part of the program. The connection between gardens and pottery includes not only food storage and cooking but more fundamentally in the fact that the clay used in ceramics comes from regional soils.

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Children will participate in a series of seven art- and science-based sessions. Participants will learn about soil composition, plant and insect species and growing cycles from Tanglewood Nature Center staff at community gardens created at the youth agency sites. They will then learn about the importance of nutrition and wellness as related to the freshly grown foods from the gardens. Educators at Heritage Village of The Southern Finger Lakes will introduce students to hearth cooking from their heritage garden. Educators from The Rockwell Museum will guide the children through ceramic creation at The Rockwell. Students will study the natural patterns of garden vegetables and use pieces in The Rockwell collection as inspiration for their artwork. 

The students’ ceramic creations will be exhibited at the program’s festival held in August 2016. CareFirst will visit each youth center site to teach about cycles of life and help children with tools of self-expression during periods of loss. In addition, a professional percussionist  will facilitate drum circle experiences to engage students in a collaborative process which speak to the rhythms and patterns of life. 

Each component of the program offers students a unique perspective and opportunities which they would not otherwise be exposed to in their communities. It also allows students of varied backgrounds to work together to learn new skills and create, all within a safe and supportive environment.

The program will culminate with a festival celebrating the students’ work held at CareFirst for the children and their families . The festival, planned for August 12, will include many family activities, including interactive art projects and demonstrations.

Follow along all summer long on the Garden of Fire blog!


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This project is made possible in part by support from Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. and The Triangle Fund.


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