The work of eight Falconer High School sculpture students has found its way to Buffalo's Botanical Gardens.
This weekend is the last chance to catch Volt Vision and SitlerHQ's fourth annual exhibit, Night Lights at the Gardens. In addition to being illuminated by eco-friendly LED and interactive lighting, the exhibit features five biodegradable sculptures created by Tina Clark's sculpture class at Falconer Central School.
Utilizing plant-derived, renewably sourced and naturally biodegradable Cello Carton Sealing Tape from www.ecoenclose.com, each of the eight students either created a sculpture of their own for the exhibit, or worked with a partner. The pieces include: "Watering Can" by Andre Dickerson; "Sum of Us" by Summer Elder and Ericka Johnson; "Peace of Tape" by Valeric Thompson; "Hand Picked" by Elisabeth Patterson and Roni Pratt; and "Letting Go" by Sydney Moore and Katelyn Rodgers.
Summer Elder and Ericka Johnson’s biodegradable sculpture is pictured on display at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens during the annual Night Lights at the Gardens interactive lighting exhibit.
According to Elder, a senior at Falconer, the plant based tape sculpture is a combination of both her body and Johnson's. It doesn't bother her too much that the piece will eventually break down, because she can just make another, she said.
"We wanted to incorporate the Botanical Gardens and make it as earthy as possible, so we made it into a person holding a plant," Elder said. "It took quite a while to make it because we took the tape and formed it around our body before taking it off to combine it all together - it's some of me and some of Ericka."
The idea for the sculpture came to Elder and Johnson with the help of Clark, who has been a major inspiration, she said.
"I've been in Mrs. Clark's class for many years, and I've always looked up to her," Elder said. "She's a great artist, a great role model, she always helps me with my work and is always nice and kind - a great person overall."
The project was made possible through a collaborative effort between eight students from Clark's sculpture class, Len Barry of the Arts Council for Chautauqua County and Steve French of Volt Vision.
According to French, he has been doing collaborations with Barry and the Arts Council for a couple of years with the goal of bringing in forward-thinking artists who enjoy experimenting and doing new, never-been-done-before things.
The end result turned out absolutely wonderful, especially considering that the project fits in perfectly with the Volt Vision model of utilizing energy efficient lighting, he said.
"It's an absolute home run," French said. "The sculpture project defined by art teacher Mrs. Clark was to do sculptures with packing tape, but when I put the idea together of doing it for Night Lights at the Gardens, I asked if there was an eco-friendly version that we could do instead of having plastic everywhere. So, Mrs. Clark came up with the biodegradable tape, which turned out to be a win-win."
Out of the five sculptures, French's favorite is "Letting Go" by Moore and Rodgers, he said. It has been a popular talking piece for both media outlets and patrons.
"It just turned out wonderfully," French said. "I hooked a Wii controller up to her so you can change the dress color. Every night there are about 1,000 people who change her dress color. It's taken on a life of its own, and everyone is becoming attached to her."
French hopes to not only involve area students again next year, but also to expand the project to include other schools and programs.
As part of the exhibit, live entertainment will be provided by Randle and the Late Night Scandals on Friday and Spun out Fire on Saturday.
The Night Lights at the Garden exhibit will be available until Saturday evening. Hours of operation include 6-9 p.m. tonight and 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Tickets, which can only be purchased at the door, are $10 for adults, $8 for Garden members, seniors and students, $5 for children 3-12 years old and children under three get in free.