“Take your eight pieces of paper and use the crayons on your table. Make these pieces of paper beautiful. Add a little pattern, maybe some polka dots, maybe write your name a bazillion times in pretty block letter art work. Be creative.” Those were the first lantern construction directions provided by teacher Stephanie O’Dell to kick off her 4th-grade art class at George W. Carver Elementary School this past Halloween.
These students weren’t the only ones to get involved in the fun of lantern making as multiple different classes of art students at the school teamed up with the ICA to contribute to this year’s InLight Richmond. The ICA collaborated with 1708 Gallery and the Communities & Schools program at Carver to give students a chance to contribute to the festival’s annual lantern parade. O’Dell said, “It’s hard to get supplies. All my paper is precious. We just don’t have the funds. So to have community partners, like the ICA, that can give us nice things—well—it’s lovely.”
Using the donated materials, all of the students made and customized their own ICA colored lanterns and were invited to participate in one of the city’s largest art festivals. When asked about the project one student said, “I’m really excited to see all of these lit up at once!” Students were also treated to an overhead projection to teach them about other lantern festivals and learned about how to use brads to put together their lanterns. At the end of the class, they took a group photo and headed off to their next period, many of them proudly twirling their lanterns in the air.