Art students invite public input on new sculpture garden at THS

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THS art teacher Christine Obeid coaches students on drawing plans for a new sculpture garden on the north end of the school.

Tecumseh High School art students have come up with an idea for a new sculpture garden and are inviting public input and involvement in the project. Art Instructor, Christine Obeid, said the idea is to utilize lawn space just outside the doors of the Art Department hallway on the north side of the building.

“It’s not currently being utilized for any other purpose, so we thought why not create a sculpture garden out there for people to enjoy,” said Obeid. “We have a sculpture by artist Tom Rudd, an abstract, that could go out there. I think the piece was something he did with students when Ron Frenzen was here.” Frenzen taught Art at the high school for many years.

Obeid invited architect Eric Geiser to speak with her Drawing and Painting class students during fifth hour on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Geiser worked with TMP Architecture on the original designs for Tecumseh High School. He was accompanied by Serge Vandervoo, a landscape architect, and the two took the class through a discussion prior to students having an opportunity to come up with their own design ideas for the space.

Geiser said in designing the high school, a lot of elements had to come together so that the structure worked not just for the school but for the whole community. He explained how architects also worked with a civil engineer to create roadways, walkways and plantings and other features.

The professionals encouraged the students to first think about the space they had to work with and do an analysis.

“Ask yourself, ‘what am I dealing with,’” Vandervoo said, encouraging an awareness of the slope, roadways and different views. “When you get into the specifications, you’ll want to know what type of trees and landscaping you want and the type of materials that will be needed. The best places appear like they just fell out of the sky, like nature did this.” He added that Central Park in New York City was just an abandoned field before someone had a vision and it was designed as a park.

When Geiser asked what the best view might be, a student volunteered that he thought it would be best to view the sculptures looking toward the street. The architect also asked what other activities might take place there, and students suggested a place to go out and eat lunch, or to add a covered patio where small groups could do concerts.

The students then went into another classroom where they were given sheets of paper with the space laid out on the page so they could then incorporate their own ideas.

“This is where you’ll be applying graphic scale and design,” said Vandervoo. “Also think about wheelchair accessibility on your pathways.”

Both Geiser and Vandervoo then made themselves available to assist students with their plans.

Vandervoo is expected to return to the classroom for a critique session when students have completed their drawings, Obeid said. “Then he’ll take the concepts into consideration and incorporate them into one design,” she added. She said the drawings should be completed in the next month or so and then would be presented to the school board.

Obeid said as students work on their design projects, the school district would also be open to hearing ideas from the public for the sculpture garden. While the district has a small budget that might be utilized to help with the project, the group hopes some of the work or materials will also be donated. Obeid said this winter, she will be working on another sculpture with her ceramics class.

“So we’ll be starting out with two sculptures,” she said. “But we hope to see it grow.”

She has also spoken with Tecumseh Economic Development Director Paula Holtz, and once the garden is completed, it could be listed on the city’s Art Trail map next year.

“We want this to be something everyone can enjoy,” Obeid said.

Those who wish to share ideas or input may contact Obeid at THS, 423.6008 or email her at cobeid@tps.k12.mi.us.




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