Tuesday, May 04, 2004


The guitars are huge. The length of a car.

My friend Danny Carver from The Cleveland School of the Arts brought two of them to Max Hayes today. He will be working with a couple of his students from the School of the Arts here in our shops. These are the giant Guitarmania sculptures that are decorated by Cleveland artists, displayed around the city, and eventually auctioned off at a benefit.

It may sound goofy, but I do get excited when I have the opportunity to introduce new people to this school--especially artists. This place is, truly, a dream come true for a sculptor.

I love giving the "nickel tour" and showing them around.
We can do so much here. The Art studio is 3,200 square feet with 80 feet of 10 foot high windows. We can see the lake and the skyline downtown.
Across the hall from me, students are welding.
Down the hall, they are building houses inside the class room. There is one shop downstairs where they can build 2, two-story houses, side by side, indoors.
We have machine shops, where for the last three years, the students have been building robots that compete all over the country and win.
We have shops upstairs and down, where the kids are maintaining and rebuilding cars. Another shop for body work and finishing. It's always fun to see the expressions on people's faces when they notice the cars on the second floor.

One of the ideas that I've been promoting since I came to work here, has been artists in the shops.
As artists, we are trained to solve problems creatively. By exposing the trades students, who are technicians, to artists, and having them work together, we can bump those thinking skills all the way to the creative top of that blasted Bloom's Taxonomy. The artists also infuse a new type of energy, or spirit, into this hulk of a building that looks more like a factory than a school.

Danny and his students will be working here for the next couple of days. They will be using the spray booth for painting the guitars, and taking advantage of the large studio, which gives them space to work. We are talking about doing a collaborative project next year, that would have students from both of our programs working together. Of course we will have to find money to do it, but hey--we're Cleveland teachers, we're used to hustling for stuff.

I wish more people would take notice of the really cool things that are going on in the city, especially in the schools. We do a whole lot more than just babysit the thugs, or teach to the proficiency tests, or sit around complaining in the teachers lounge... while the taxpayers pay our salaries. We have been challenged to build a skilled and creative workforce, and against the odds, we are working to do just that.

No comments: