.Art teacher, Mathias "Spider" Schergen developed this project, with his students at
.Jenner Elementary School. The project was developed through work with the UIC
.Contemporary Community Curriculum Initiative 2000 and Chicago Arts Partnerships
.in Education (CAPE).


Change is an inevitable part of the human condition. Whether it takes place within an individual or as a collective experience, change holds the past, present and future to the light of reflective consciousness. How does the individual's experience of change effect the collective experience?

What qualities of installation art provide a vehicle for collaboration, personal and collective interpretation, and conceptual content?

Is the concept of "installation" a viable art form for consideration in the middle school curriculum?

Since the "dematerialization" of the art object in the 1970’s, many serious artists have chosen to work in temporary forms such as "installations" in which everyday objects and materials are arranged to create a sensory experience through which the viewer literally enters into the artwork. Despite this dramatic shift in how much art is made and understood, most school art projects are created by individual students working alone to make static, (semi) permanent, individually conceived and executed artworks.

In his essay, "The Relation of the Environment to the Anti-Environment," Marshall McLuhan writes, "Only the small child and the artist have that immediacy of approach that permits perception of the environmental. The artist provides us with anti-environments that enable us to see the environment."

This project encourages students and art teachers to work together as artistic collaborators, using found materials in the school and community to create an "artistic space" to investigate some aspect of school and community life. In such projects, the art teacher steps out of the role of the "dispenser of art knowledge," instead becoming a community artist who leads students and other members of the school community in exploring a vital issue in their lives. The installation site opens up a "discursive space" where people come together to witness and discuss "what’s happening" at this time and place. This enables people to look and look critically at the culture in which they live and to consider what role they might play in shaping its future.