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The Scarlet & Black

A summer of art in the park



Tilly - Joanna Silverman
Faulconer Gallery Curator of Academic and Community Outreach Tilly Woodward shows off her freshly-glittered truck. Photo by Joanna Silverman

Since its inception over five years ago, the Faulconer Art Outreach in the Parks program has garnered attention from the local Grinnell community due to Tilly Woodward’s outreach work with different organizations throughout the city of Grinnell.

Woodward, the Curator of Academic and Community Outreach for the Faulconer Gallery, created the program in hopes of providing access to the arts to people who may not have the necessary tools and resources to access art as readily as other individuals.

For six weeks throughout the summer, Woodward worked with local Grinnell youth to facilitate daylong programs of creative activities in the park. Woodward said the premise of the program was to “bring the art to the kids” instead of having the kids come to the art.   

Woodward said many people are not engaged with art because of the common myth that art must only be viewed in a specific setting or by a certain group of people. The Faulconer Art Outreach in the Park program debunks that myth by delivering art at various local parks, places not typically associated with creative work.

The program attempts to break down any possible barriers that would prevent local youth and their families from participating by not having any registration forms or fees to pay in order to utilize the materials and make art. These efforts resulted in as many as 80 individuals from around the town attending the summer sessions this year.

Woodward attributes the idea of the program to one of her professors from her own time at college who initiated a similar program.  Borrowing the idea of her professor and modifying the program so that it was available without charge for kids in the Grinnell community, Woodward took initiative and implemented the program at the College.

“Oftentimes, we think of art as unattainable or something only people with affluent backgrounds can enjoy,” she said, “but after seeing how [my professor] helped facilitate other people’s happiness through art and after I saw how much good art can do in people, I knew I had to do something similar in the future.”

The program included a potpourri of art activities, including ceramics, painting, drawing, collage, truck glittering and sculpture. One of the several projects the community undertook this year was the creation of a four-foot statue replica of the Statue of Liberty. Woodward sought to ask the community’s youth what “liberty” meant to each individual and how it affected them in
dividually through this project.

Woodward is appreciative and proud of the partner community organizations with which the Faulconer Gallery Outreach in the Park program has joined forces. In fact, the Art Outreach in the Park program has sometimes been hosted by spaces within the Drake Community Library and the Poweshiek County Fair.

But the Faulconer Gallery’s partnership doesn’t end when the summer Art Outreach in the Park session terminates. In addition to the Drake Library and the fair, the Faulconer Gallery also partners with The Galaxy, the Davis Stars program, and others to provide art projects that support other programs located in community organizations.   

Woodward said that for her, participating in the program is its own reward. “Working with the kids is a highlight of my day. There is not one single highlight of the program because, ultimately, being surrounded by kids who are happy while creating art makes me really happy,” she said.

 Woodward is always looking for volunteers to help her throughout the year with the Faulconer Gallery Outreach program. Interested students can send her an email at [woodward].


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