“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one less traveled by – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” ~ Rachel Carson
Children have a self-confessed passion for nature. When we asked fourth graders at St. George School in Tenants Harbor, ME to tell us where they most liked to be, it was, by a significant margin, in the out of doors.
Tenants Harbor is just one of the tiny fishing villages on the St. George Peninsula. It lies between the Gulf of Maine and the St. George River, and without going far in any direction, you can be at the edge of a pine forest, a trickling stream, or by the sea.
Collaborating with the local school and the town library, our team of 5 LEAPS of IMAGINATION mentor artists arrived on election day, poised to kick off a 4 week program. Every LEAPS’ project is an offshoot of an existing school program and is rooted in our deep belief in possibility, in human nature, and in our connection with the Earth.
Our goal for this program was for kids to investigate the natural beauty of their peninsula, and through observation, art making, and literature, be guided toward a deeper understanding of place and self. Little did we know, when we left our studio and headed down the path to the forest, that the course of our country would change that day. With journal in hand, each young artist chose three objects which would inspire his or her work of art. Our plan was for kids to use those motifs to frame the self-portraits they’d later create.
Indeed the decision to focus kids on their relationship to the Earth turned out to be fortuitous. Our overarching themes – trees restore us to stillness and calm; the ocean connects us to our own rhythms; and rooted in our deepest selves, we can stand up for that which we believe, may someday be guideposts for the students we taught. The discussions and artwork that emerged might even become springboards for their future action.
Their prints, some of which are pictured here, are seedlings of hope, in what seems to many of us, to be a questionable future. ~ Nancy Harris Frohlich