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Friday, May 04, 2007

A playground filled with poetry

It might have been a gray Chicago afternoon, but at Gale School in Rogers Park things were particularly bright and cheerful. Today the kids at Gale got off early so that they could participate in a Poetry Walk. The event was inspired by a visit Principal Rudy Lubov made to Robert Frost's home in Massachussets, and it came to fruition through the hard work of curators Lori Viera and Dayanara Garcia, the students who wrote many wonderful poems for the occasion, and many other teachers and volunteers.

The students, from Head Start through 8th grade, used Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends as a model and wrote at least one poem each. The Gale School grounds were covered with the fruit of those labors.

There was poetry on bookmarks that were tied to the fences ...



There was poetry hung like clothes from a wash line ...




There was poetry assembled with found objects into stepping stones ...




There was poetry written with chalk on the sidewalks ...



There was poetry displayed with drawings on the walls ...


There was poetry used as wrapping for gift boxes ...


And there were students with music to play and voices to lift up ...


It's a shining example of the creativity of these youth who just need the proper coaxing to bring forth such beautiful expressions. It's also an object lesson why our public school system needs to think twice before making the arts one of the first programs cut during times of fiscal crisis.

It's also just one of the many cool events taking place throughout the city during the month of May as part of the Chicago Labor & Arts Festival.
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