Jane N. Douglas
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From: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 4:21 PM -0500
Subject:The Tarp Project
Funded generously by the Limestone Learning Foundation artist Mark Reinhart and the First Avenue Public School community joined together to realize the participatory and graffiti-based documentation and art experience known as the Tarp Project.

Students and their teacher create their unique classroom tarp.The art project animates and archives a community. Once collected, a careful, considered, and varied installation of the tarps has potential to animate, archive, and trace a record of thinking. It reveals the participant as an artist, whether time spent on the tarp is minutes or hours. Putting a piece of tape on the tarp makes you an artist. Each tarp will be different, depending on the contextual ground from which it rises, which makes the joining of the tarps particularly triumphant, celebratory, and kaleidoscopic. An illuminated and simple task – put tape on the tarp – becomes a record of understanding, and fuels itself by a curiosity for where and when art can happen.

With each classroom armed with its own duct tape, tarp, and markers, students were primed to express and contribute to a classroom community tarp, which would serve as documentation of the ideology of that classroom. Joined together, these tarps collectively represent the ideology of the school, and document First Avenue Public School in its final year before it consolidates with Frontenac Public School to become the new school community of Molly Brant Elementary School.

Tarps handing from ceiling of First Ave. P.S. and community tarp on floor.During the closing ceremonies in June 2016, a final tarp was left, with duct tape and markers, for the greater FAPS community to contribute to, therein offering an opportunity to trace the trajectory of the school community, and document this trajectory in a specifically arts infused experience. The classroom tarps created by students will join Mr. Reinhart's national touring exhibit, and the remaining tarp will be installed at Molly Brant E.S. when it opens in September 2016.

Inspiring, expressive, and immediate, The Tarp Project grounded the school in a sense of history, as it moves forward into a new school community with the same spirit and compassion that has served its student body and community for many years.

The Tarp Project was one of several transition activities undertaken by both school communities.