Maybe Kermit the Frog was wrong when he insisted it wasn’t “easy being green.”
Well, at least some of the kids at Chew Recreation Center at 18th and Ellsworth streets seem to disagree with the pessimistic muppet.
Over the course of ten weeks, students have been participating in an ongoing art program fusing plastic into pieces of art. Directed by Mural Arts representative Ellie Brown, children from ages 10 through 14-years-old have been learning ways to create art through environmental practices. During the last few weeks of the course, students have been working with an iron to fuse plastic bags to create a mandala, a Sanskrit symbol of unity and cosmic wholeness.
“I have an issue with plastic bags, so I wanted to take this thing that’s trash and turn that into art,” said Brown, an artist whose primary platform is photography. “I’ve done this with kids before and we’ve just made wallets and coin purses, so I knew that it worked. I just thought of this visual thing, and the mandala’s a beautiful form.”
“You’ve only got to try it once and then you learn more things about it,” said Cherelle Moore, a sixth grader from Edwin M. Stanton School at 17th and Christian streets. “It’s awesome the first time you try it.”
Moore and her twin brother, Terrell, have been part of Brown’s class of six to twelve students who have been incorporating greener practices into arts and crafts in after school classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Brown has been providing the students with an outside perspective of art and green practices by bringing them to community gardens and an art show preview at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
She said the experience working with the children has been “awesome.”
“You know, at first a lot of them were like, ‘ehh,’ but now a lot of them are really getting into it,” Brown said. “They’ve also learned to identify urban nature when we walk by it.”