You may have heard the expression “art for the masses,” but Tawanka Elementary School in Langhorne created a work of art that included them in a single “living painting” in June. Daniel Dancer, a conceptual artist and educator from Oregon, visited the school for three days on June 3–5. Dancer is the owner of Art For the Sky, and specializes in large-scale artistic creations that can include hundreds or even thousands of participants in a “living painting” that can best be seen from above.
Dancer describes his creations as, “…an artful blend of science, history and math: a whole-body way of stimulating our imagination to see the elusive ‘big picture’ and help us better understand our interconnection with all life.”
Over a month the school gathered raw materials for the project including hundreds of pairs of donated blue jeans, orange fabric and garden mulch. Dancer arranged the items in a grass field outside the school on Monday, and instructed the Tawanka students and staff on what they would need to do to complete the painting.
On June 4, 2019, following lunch, they donned color-coordinated (white, brown and black) shirts and made their way outside to the painting area. Thanks to Dancer’s organizational efforts along with help from PTO volunteers and Tawanka staff, over 800 students from every grade and staff were set into place within minutes and ready for their photo. A small drone was used to capture video and photos as they crouched down to fill in the frame to form an image of an eagle, the school’s mascot.
The entire process took 23 minutes. Dancer returned to the school Wednesday morning to show a video of the painting to the students during an assembly. This ‘reveal’ was the first time they were able to see the results of their project.
The donated blue jeans will be given to a local charity for distribution.