Progress continues to be made on the Portsmouth City School District Human Rigets Garden.
After a long year of work, the project is now in its final phases. Conceptualized by Art Teacher, April Deacon, The Human Rights Garden will be a permanent outdoor sculpture and plant garden based upon the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“We’ve basically made everything that is going to made, now we’ve just got to install everything,” said teacher April Deacon. “It has been an awesome, awesome experience. It’s been hard at times, sometimes it’s hard for the students to envision the big picture but I think they’re going to be blown away once they see it all done.”
After breaking ground on Sept. 21, 2016, the first phase of the project included an archaeological site survey, lead by the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park’s Education Technician, Susan Knisley. The students also created sundial sculptures for the garden based on Serpent Mound and local mound-building Native American cultures that were based in Portsmouth.
Next, the students worked alongside visiting artists, Kevin Lyles and Brian Welsh to create sculptures cast, bronze, aluminum and stone. The garden will also feature bricks etched with words related to rights. Building and Maintenance students created four benches for the space, and on each side, there will be tiles based upon student artwork.
This week, students worked alongside educators and designers from the Franklin Park Conservatory. The fifth grade science students worked with Dr. Mark Miller to learn about ecosystems, they will be taking a field trip to the Franklin Park Conservatory as well.
During this phase, the Three-Dimensional Art students will bring the garden to life by selecting plants with the help of Franklin Park Horticulture Designer, Garet Martin. Martin met with the students on Monday and Tuesday to find out what types of plants will work for the space, but won’t take away from the art.
”So we started off with an informal consultation, it’s what we’d do with any client and any design space, we’re talking about what makes a garden, why it’s important and I also went over some of the history of gardening with the students as well,” explained Martin. “We’re talking about the goal of this garden, the artwork of this garden is obviously the star, so you don’t want to overshadow it with plants. I’m not going to plant a giant tree in here because that would completely contrast with the large sculptures that are going to be included in the garden. We’re going to be doing prairie style planting here, one, because those plants are heartier, with the location being right in the sun you need something that is hardy and won’t need a ton of watering. Two, it works great for the space and the environment. Since we’re in the River Valley, prairie style planting is native here and it works for the soil.”
Students gave feedback on presented options and helped Martin chose the plants that will be included. Planting will begin May 1.
The project is slotted to be completed by the end of the school year, in May of 2017. The garden produced will be just the first part of a multi-phase learning series that will continue to grow throughout the years and impact elementary, junior high and high school learners. In the coming years, the school hopes to add an outdoor physical fitness area, a vegetable garden, gazebos and an outdoor exhibition space for art displays.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.